Changes to Grading Coming for Upcoming School Year

The School Board’s Curriculum and Instruction Committee is reviewing proposed changes to the district’s policy governing grading and homework assignments, aiming to make homework an equitably-applied learning tool instead of an assessment of mastery of a subject.

The updated Policy 5030 also will not permit a single assignment or assessment to count for more than 25 percent of a student’s cumulative quarter grade. Prior to the pandemic, single assessments could not count for more than 20 percent of a cumulative grade. Focus group and community feedback indicated strong support for allowing assessments to count for a quarter of a grading period.

The committee at its June meeting also considered focus group feedback on homework, determining that it should count for no more than 10 percent of a marking period, to help ensure that the work helps to address students’ progress and reinforces concepts for students as opposed to being a continuation of testing.

“Focus group feedback is that homework is practice, and an opportunity for application, and should not be graded. Part of the situation is about the equity of that,” Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Ashley Ellis said. “For example, a student who has parents at home who are supporting them in their homework and can do seventh grade algebra well, versus a student required to do homework on his or her own without parent support.”

The policy makes a distinction between homework and summative assessments that take place outside of a classroom, such as more long-term coursework such as written papers and research assignments. Those assignments also may not count for more than 10 percent of a quarter grade.

“We want the learning to occur in the classroom so that the teachers can modify and personalize. We have a difference between teaching for learning and teaching for grading,” Neri Gonzalez-Sales, director of High School Education said.

Previously, teachers were allowed to use homework as summative assessments, grading the content of the work as opposed to just its completion.

The School Board is scheduled to vote on the changes to the policy during its Aug. 10 meeting, and to implement the changes for the 2021-2022 school year.

12 thoughts on “Changes to Grading Coming for Upcoming School Year

  • 2021-07-13 at 11:38 am
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    Wow. Why have grades at all? Why assign homework or have testing at all? You can make an argument in using “equity” as the reason for eliminating all of this. How about in the name of equity, so long as a student is able to make it to class at least 51% of the school year, then they pass and move to the next level. Is that simple enough..err…I mean equity enough?

    • 2021-07-14 at 11:02 am
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      Well, to be sure, there are colleges that don’t have grades. Reed, New College, Sarah Lawrence, Brown University come to mind.

      I don’t know about grading the assignments themselves — an A or a B or whatever is less important than completing the assignments. So, I would hope at the least completion factors into the overall grade.

      But considering the amount of grade inflation in LCPS, I think you might be onto something about ending grades entirely. That’s not a completely terrible idea.

  • 2021-07-13 at 1:43 pm
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    I haven’t laughed so hard in ages. Homework is now an ungraded “equitably-applied learning tool.” How motivated will students be if assignments are not graded?

  • 2021-07-13 at 3:48 pm
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    FAIL.

    This is stupid as most of us already know. Loudoun used to offer a great education to our youth, but politicians ( BOS & School Board members) are playing power games and don’t give a hoot about kids or the concerns of parents. They routinely give us the Briskman middle finger when a concern is expressed. They also shut down public comments because free speech is no longer allowed in Loudoun government buildings.

    When will the school board pull the pornographic books from the required reading list?

    Cowards all. They should resign in disgrace now because the recall will send them packing.

  • 2021-07-13 at 3:55 pm
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    Sign the recall petitions. This board has no interest in actually educating the children with the tools and skills they need to do well.

    • 2021-07-19 at 10:15 am
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      No, I don’t sign on to Astroturf. If you don’t like the board, there will be another election soon enough.

  • 2021-07-13 at 5:06 pm
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    Does Loudoun adhere to the no grade lower than 50 fad? Once kids figure that one out, the slackers do even less.

  • 2021-07-13 at 7:39 pm
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    Was feedback from the parents of “[children] required to do homework on his or her own without parent support” included in the “focus group?”

    See where this is going?

  • 2021-07-13 at 8:24 pm
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    Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Ashley Ellis and Neri Gonzalez-Sales, director of High School Education. It wasted money sending these two to college to become education administrators. How can anybody have any pride in accomplishment with “equity”. Who would want to be a future teacher in LCPS except for the dregs of an equity education. The teachers leaving LCPS for other school districts will probably highlight their resume; “Left LCPS before I had to indoctrinate students in CRT and equity”.

  • 2021-07-16 at 11:02 am
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    I don’t know why this comes as a surprise to anyone. They have been dumbing down our education system for years. When I attended LCHS you got graded on everything you turned in and if you got below a 70 it was failing. The number to pass keeps going lower and lower and the number of assignments that are graded is going down as well. If you didn’t turn something in, just go ahead and turn it in late, no problem. When I was in school that got you a zero and tanked your grade. And people wonder why we have a generation of kids that feel like everything should be handed to them and don’t want to be a functioning member of society. Just keep lowering the bar, that’s the answer.

  • 2021-07-17 at 12:04 pm
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    Lets try looking at homework from a different angle. LCPS says (or at least they did when I was on the school board) that homework is not for new material but rather to give students a chance to practice what they learned in class (reinforcement). So why not take LCPS at its word and give students an incentive to perform better. Students who achieve an A or B receive no penalty for not handing in homework assignments as they demonstrated they have mastered the subject matter. Of course they can do the homework and get credit for handing it in but no punishment if they don’t! Isn’t there a lot more growing up children need to do at home than spend hours doing homework out of fear of a penalty? 🙂

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