Eagle Leaders Letter

Special Edition: Grading Policies


In previous newsletters, we shared information about shifts in SHS grading policies. These changes were eight months in the making and the result of several things:

  • Grading among our teachers--professional, committed, wholly-invested, kid-loving teachers--was well-intentioned but inconsistent, creating a patchwork of approaches that confused students and parents.
  • Research on best practices in grading shows that some traditional grading habits can be inadvertently punitive. When we know better, we must do better.
  • With the switch to distance learning, classes were condensed so that students could stay on track to graduate. With our limited time, we must focus on learning essential standards; therefore, students cannot afford to have their grade "tanked" due to a few missing homework assignments. Alternatively, tasks that are practice shouldn't help them pass a class; demonstrating knowledge on assessments should.
  • The switch to distance learning means that equity and opportunity gaps will widen if our grading habits impact students based on situations beyond their control.

The last two bullet points reference our switch to distance learning, but it is important to note that these grading shifts are based on years of research and follow in the paths of schools rigorously preparing students for modern, post-secondary success. Distance learning was not a reason for these updates at SHS but rather underscored that there was no better time than now.

The Details

Students and parents, in checking grades, please make sure you are not simply looking at the current grade in a course. Check for missing assessments (tests). We are no longer entering zeroes for those, so the result, while encouraging, may be misleading. If you are missing an assessment, your grade will certainly drop at quarter's end, and you may end up with an Incomplete for the course. For more information, please click on the following document:

Talk with Teachers

Even with consistent, school-wide policies, some variation will exist among teachers. That may have to do with the course content or format, with their style, or with their beliefs about learning. As professionals, they have the right to make those decisions. As students and parents of students, you have the right to that information.

If you have questions, please reach out directly to your (child's) teacher. Teachers are expected to communicate weekly, via student conference, phone call, or email in regard to at-risk grades.

Keep an Eye on Progress

Parents, become an Observer on Canvas by following this tutorial. And if you haven't already, download the NSSD Mobile App, which puts all school-related information, including your student's grades, in one place.

Want to Know More?

Find texts about these topics here: