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School Board to Consider Changing Grading Policies, Eliminating Final Exams

Tomorrow, the Alexandria School Board will consider changes to its grading policies that will, among other things, eliminate final exams for secondary and high school students.

The board will also talk about whether or not to give students in grades 6-12 “pass” or “no grade” for their fourth quarter work, according to a staff memorandum.

“In line with VDOE [Virginia Department of Education] guidance, these two options would allow students the maximum flexibility and opportunity to improve their grade during the fourth quarter by continuing to engage in instruction, without negatively impacting students who might receive an NG [No Grade],” according to the memo.

Additionally, elementary school student progress reports would be based on work completed on or before March 13, which is when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the school system to shut down.

Ten days later, Gov. Ralph Northam ordered schools closed throughout the state for the remainder of the academic year. The school board has not yet made a formal decision regarding summer school.

Every day, ACPS releases staff updates at noon and notices to families at 1 p.m. in ACPS Express. Student attendance is not being tracked during the shutdown, and teachers are legally prohibited from grading any work or providing new learning material to students.

Students who complete at least 60% of their distance learning assignments would get a passing grade equivalent to receiving a 100. That final grade would then be averaged against their previous three quarters, and letter grades would be averaged for the partial third quarter of the school year.

If a student receives an NG for the fourth quarter, it would not be counted and only the other three quarters would be averaged, according to the memo. There are more than 15,700 students in ACPS.

The school board’s online meeting is set to start at noon on Friday.

Photo via T.C. Williams Minnie Howard Campus/Facebook

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