April 8, 2020
Middle School Parents,
Thank you for a great first week of Remote Learning! As always, our teachers and administration are learning and making adjustments to provide the best educational experience for our families.
Based on the feedback we’ve gathered, the decision has been made to alter our traditional grading practices to better fit the current online environment. The administration’s main goal for the Spring semester is to provide a high-quality education for all CAC families while limiting stress on faculty, parents, and students.
After careful consideration, we have decided to change the Spring Semester grading policy for Middle School (excluding Algebra I). The new grading policy will allow the CAC Middle School faculty to assess students based on subject mastery and limit the pressure associated with specific grades (A, B, C etc). Student expectations will remain the same, as will the quality and thoroughness of all materials and lessons presented. Teachers will continue to utilize Google Classroom, Google Meet, Zoom and other strategies to maximize engagement and interaction.
Ultimately, we want to relieve the pressure of grades for students and parents so we can focus on creating the best Remote Learning environment. We will continue to meaningfully teach our curricula while supporting the whole child. We thank you for your continued support and understanding.
Please read the information below thoroughly. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Stewart.
Middle School Grading Model
*THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO ALGEBRA.
Students will be assessed using three grading categories:
ME – Meets Expectations (70% or above)
NI – Needs Improvement (below 70%)
M – Incomplete or Missing (student did not submit work)
By utilizing these grading categories we will join a multitude of public and private colleges and universities that have recently adopted similar policies. In a recent policy statement, Columbia University stated that “this, of course, does not reflect a reduction in expectations, but rather an acknowledgment of the severe complications of this unusual moment.”
The goal for the Spring semester is for students to master the concepts that coincide with their grade level. Thus, numerical and alphabetical grades should be secondary to students’ ability to master the necessary academic concepts that will allow them to stay on track for next year.
What Will This Look Like?
Due to limitations within the RenWeb App, only the Term Grade will be visible for each of your student’s classes.
In the image to the right, the student currently has an 82 for the 4th Quarter in Mr. Sullivan’s Bible class. This is above a 70%, which means the student has an ME (Meets Expectations).
Again, the numerical value is not important. ME or NI will be the only values reflected.
**Please disregard the Week at a Glance Tab. The numerical values are not important.**
Due to limitations within the RenWeb App, parents must log in to ParentsWeb using a web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc) to view all graded assignments.
The image to the right shows a parent who has signed in to ParentsWeb using the browser on their phone. They have selected Gradebook and then Mr. Sullivan’s Bible class.
Here they are able to view all graded assignments from the 4th Quarter. As you can see, all assignments have been given a value of ME (Meets Expectations) or NI (Needs Improvement).
- DAILY NOTIFICATIONS – As usual, parents/guardians will receive a notification when their student receives a grade lower than a 70% – NI (Needs Improvement).
- SUNDAY REVIEW – Middle School parents/guardians will no longer receive emails on Sunday with a recap of their student’s graded assignments. All graded assignments will be viewable through ParentsWeb at any time.
Daily Assignments and Homework
Daily assignments and homework will rarely be tied to a grade. The vast majority of grades moving forward will be tied to assessment (quizzes/tests) and large projects only. Teachers will decide to give grades to assignments critical to subject mastery.
- How should my student approach assignments that will not be graded? Students are highly encouraged to complete all work and assignments given. Every piece of instruction will benefit students on future assessments (quizzes/tests) and help with their mastery of concepts.
- Feedback: Students who turn in assignments will receive feedback from the teacher. Essentially, the reward for turning in small assignments will be valuable feedback.
- What happens if my student does not complete or turn in a non-graded assignment? Students who do not turn in daily assignments and homework will not be punished or receive a negative grade. They will simply not receive feedback and will be less likely to master concepts.
Most larger assignments, projects, and assessments will have a grade attached if the task is critical to the mastering of concepts.
Meets Expectations: Students who score 70% or above will receive a ME (Meets Expectations) in RenWeb.
Needs Improvement: Students who score 69% or less will receive a NI (Needs Improvement) in RenWeb.
- Students who receive an ‘NI’ on a graded task will have one chance to retake the assignment and hopefully earn a ‘ME’.
- AGAIN, STUDENTS WILL HAVE ONLY ONE OPPORTUNITY TO RETAKE ALL ASSIGNMENTS WHERE THEY RECEIVED AN ‘NI’.
On any graded material (quizzes/tests, assignments, large project) students who receive and NI (Needs Improvement) or M (Missing) will be required to meet with the teacher for feedback. Students will be required to retake the graded material for a chance to earn ME (Meet Expectations).
What should I expect if my student receives an NI (Needs Improvement or M (Missing)?
- The teacher will communicate with the student and parent, notifying them of the NI or M and offer support as needed.
- Teachers and student(s) will arrange an individual feedback session to help understand areas of weakness.
- Students will have the opportunity to retake assignments as arranged by the teacher.
- What about the grades my student has already received this fourth quarter? The grades have already been transferred over to reflect our new grading policy. Any assignment prior to this date (April 8, 2020) that is marked as NI (Needs Improvement) will not be retaken. The new grading scale and retake model will begin tomorrow.
Students will not be penalized for late graded assignments unless it becomes a consistent issue.
- Teachers will notify students when graded assignments are late, and students will be able to turn in assignments for full credit.
- What happens if a student is consistently late when turning in graded assignments? Administration will be notified and will contact parents.
Assessment & Final Exams
All assessments will be administered under timed conditions and include thorough questions that will cover standard-based material to reflect student concept mastery. Students will take a final cumulative exam during finals week and will receive a ME or NI for that exam.
- What will grades look like at the end of the semester? Middle school students will receive one of two grades: ME (Meets Expectations) or NI (Needs Improvement) for the Spring Semester.
- What happens if a student does not Meet Expectations (ME) on a final exam? The same policy as adopted for the fourth quarter will apply to the final exams. The student will have the opportunity to retake the exam one time to attempt to attain ME (Meet Expectations). Retakes will be organized with the Principal.
- Will this grading system affect high school transcripts or grades for college? Absolutely not. The grading system has no negative impact on high school or college.
- Is this a model we plan to implement following the Spring semester? No. The grading model is suited for our current situation only. This model will not be used when we return to school.