Frequently Asked Questions about Elementary Grading Guidelines
Q: What is CUSD’s policy on giving a student a zero for a missing assignment?
A: A teacher can give a student a zero for a missing assignment as long as they have followed these procedures:
- Teacher has given ample time prior to progress reports or report cards.
- Teacher has communicated to the student that he/she has a missing assignment either through verbal communication or a missing assignment report through Infinite Campus. The missing assignment has been identified in Infinite Campus by flagging an “M” in for the assignment. If left as an “M”, Infinite Campus will automatically assign a zero for this assignment.
- Teacher has communicated and has documented that they have successfully contacted the parents about the missing assignment. It may be easy to notate this in the comments section in Infinite Campus.
- Oral presentations may be given a zero if the student does not present, even after sufficient interventions and time have been given. If the student only completes a portion of the presentation they will receive a score no lower than 50%.
- It is the teacher’s responsibility to provide sufficient interventions and time for students to complete missing assignments.
- If applicable, provide accommodations for the student. This may include extra time, computer access, excused assignments for when life gets in the way, etc.
Q: What is the lowest grade I can assign to a student for an assignment turned in?
A: If an assignment is turned in, then the lowest score they can receive is a 50%. It would be mathematically inaccurate to give a grade of less than 50%, and would make it very difficult for a student to recover from a failing score of less than 50%. CUSD believes that it is in our students’ best interests to promote learning by allowing students to earn at least 50% on completed work.
Q: Why is 50% for assignments turned in the lowest score we can assign?
A: A zero has a devastating effect on students and their grades. It can even distort a grade in a way that it no longer is an indicator of mastery. A grade should represent what the student knows. Only 10 points separate a grade, B-89-80 and C-79-70, it is not mathematically accurate that an F has a 59 point interval. Two zeros and/or grades lower than a 50% sometimes make it very hard and/or impossible to recover from, causing some students to give up. We are not giving something to students for nothing. We are adjusting the grade intervals so that any averaging is mathematically justified. This presents a more accurate picture of the student’s ability.
Q: Can I deduct points and/or percentages for an assignment/project that is turned in late?
A: No points and/or percentages should be deducted from any assignment/project due to lateness. A grade should represent the content learned, not behaviors that promote learning. Late work should be noted in Behaviors that Promote Learning, not in the grade, and marked appropriately in Infinite Campus. This is a good use of the comments section in Infinite Campus.
Q: Can an assignment that was guided in class be given as homework?
A: Any guided assignments/homework can be graded as long as the instruction took place prior to sending the work home.
Q: Is two grades per week an expectation of all CUSD teachers?
A. An average of two (2) grades per week should be inputted for each subject, including Speaking and Listening. This also includes kindergarten teachers. Although the requirement is an average per week, grade reporting on a consistent basis keeps parents aware of how their students are doing and provides them a snapshot of their students’ progress. It is up to the discretion of the teacher to decide if the inputted grades count towards the final grade or not. Example: Formative Vs. Summative Even if the grade is inputted, but doesn’t count towards the students’ final grades, it is still providing feedback to the parents and students. This is covered in CUSD Policy IKA-R.
Q: How often should Science and Social Science be taught and how many grades should be inputted?
A: Science and Social Sciences should be taught every quarter in grades K-6. Report card grades will be given each quarter in grades 1-6 with respect to Science and Social Sciences. Kindergarten will embed Science and Social Sciences into ELA Foundational Skill Literacy, Writing, Language, Speaking and Listening. A minimum of two (2) grades per week should be inputted for science and/or social science depending on when stand-alone and integrated units of study occurs per the integrated curriculum maps.
Q: Can homework be assigned on holidays and weekends?
A: Minimal homework can be assigned on holidays and weekends. The student handbook reflects this.
Q: Are report card comments mandatory?
A: Every quarter there needs to be meaningful comments. Comments should be factual based and not opinions. They should be about the student’s progression towards grades. For example: “Freddy Fish has made improvements this quarter in his ability to swim at a consistent pace. Next quarter he will build his stamina in order to be able to swim against a current.”
Q: Does a student need to have been enrolled at a school for a certain amount of days before a report card can be given or grades assigned?
A: Grades should always be put in and report cards given. It needs to be the present level of performance. It should state in the comments section that the grades aren’t a valid reflection of the student’s grades if they haven’t been there for the full quarter.
Q: How should I communicate the PLP’s out to parents?
A: PLP’s should be communicated out each quarter. It should be communicated through the Message Center or printed out for each student at the beginning of 1st quarter or when the student enters. It will be communicated out by the district for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarter as a reminder to access the PLP’s through the portal. If parents do not have access to a computer, then they will need to be printed each quarter for them.
Q: What details need to be entered for each assignment?
A: Everything in red is required. In addition to the red sections, the For Students is also required and should be based on the PLP verbiage. Titles for assignments should be very descriptive and geared toward the standards and should not just state “Worksheet #2”. Teacher Notes are optional as they are for the teacher’s eyes only.
Q: Why aren’t the grades I enter on the last day appearing in the grading system?
A: The STUDENT’S last day is the last day of the term, not teacher work days. If you enter assignments on the last day of the quarter and students are not at school, you will need to change the due date to a day the students were in school. Any grades that you enter on a teacher work day will post to the next quarter. For example, if you enter grades on December 17th they will go into the 3rd quarter grades.
Q: How do I differentiate the values of assignments and assessments?
A: Point values should be inputted into the gradebook system, rather than percentages, in order for tests not to be counted the same as classwork grades.
Q: Should I be following the standards/curriculum maps or the adopted textbooks?
A: Textbooks are the vehicle in which you meet the standards. Teachers are responsible for making sure all standards are taught and PLPs are communicated out to parents.
Q: Who is responsible for a student’s grade that is receiving homebound instruction and who enters the grades into Infinite Campus?
A: A homebound teacher provides a minimum of four hours per week of instruction and is required to work in collaboration with the student’s assigned general education teacher at their site and the school counselor. Students are still expected to master grade level standards. Grading is completed by the homebound instructor on how they are progressing towards mastering the standards as a single summative grade. These grades are given by the homebound teacher and should be entered by the registrar of the site in which the student should be attending but cannot due to certain circumstances. The registrar also needs to notate in the comment section the name of the homebound teacher.
Q: Can a CUSD student fail?
A: Yes, if a student’s instruction is not modified or accommodated based on having an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) a student may fail based on their assessments and assignments. In the event that a student struggles within a particular content area we want to ensure that the following occurs in all of our classrooms and for every child:
- Parents are informed of the child’s academic performance at the point of discovery
- Assessments are used as diagnostics to see gaps the student may have in the content area learned as well as formatives to help guide the elicit instruction required for the student.
- Intervention in the content area is provided
- Student is provided small group instruction as a part of the CORE Tier 1 content learning. (Not extracted from CORE Tier 1 Instruction but in addition to CORE Tier 1 instruction)
If assignments are not handed in or assessments and assignments are given a 50% to 60%, a child may be given an (F) for failure for the content area. Please understand that with Non-Zero Based Grading, adjusting zeroes to 60% is not giving students something for having done nothing. It’s adjusting the grading scale so that each grade has an appropriate amount of influence on the student’s summative evaluation. In addition, we have to ensure that the summative grade is not a culmination of 3 or 4 assignments or assessments but that we have a good picture of achievement by having sufficient scored assignments and assessments going towards the grade.
Q: Can a student who is on an IEP fail?
A: All students are general education students first, to include those accessing an IEP. Current district grading policies and guidelines apply in conjunction with accommodations/modifications outlined in the IEP. Students accessing an IEP may receive failing grades, provided the outcomes align with district grading guidelines and the team has evidence of interventions to include a discussion/meeting with the IEP team. Grades should accurately reflect student learning and demonstrate the effectiveness of accommodations/ modifications. If a student with an IEP is failing, the IEP team should consider holding an IEP meeting to determine whether the current plan is appropriate and/or adjustments are necessary to reflect current needs.
Q. Does the resource teacher provide grades for students identified under IDEA and accessing resource services?
A: The General Education and Resource Teachers should collaborate on grading for students with an IEP. Grades are then entered into Infinite Campus by the General Education Teacher (the teacher of record). As appropriate, clarifying statements can be added to a report card to indicate a student accesses accommodations or modifications. Resource coursework is most often concentrated on IEP goals using specially designed instruction.
Q. Should an assignment or test that is redone, be given the new grade or an average of the two grades?
A: To ensure elementary students in Chandler Unified School District are provided with quality feedback regarding their academic performance we acknowledge the following.
Students learn at different rates. We value both academic growth as well as the proficiency of standards. We believe it to be best practice to look at a cumulative body of knowledge as demonstrated by projects, assignments, quizzes, formative and summative assessments.
When providing retake or redo opportunities, elementary teachers will communicate the process to students and parents. The communication will include an agreed upon timeframe including date, time, location of the retake or redo and how it will be proctored. Upon completion of the retake or redo, the higher grade demonstrating mastery of content or concept will be entered as the assessment/assignment grade, not the average.