• What exactly is changing with the new Grading and Reporting procedures?

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    There are basically only two changes that are being made to the DVUSD grading and reporting procedures:

    1) A student's grade will be a direct reflection of only what they know and will not take into account chosen behaviors. Students will still be held accountable for behaviors such as turning work in late and cheating, but it will not be reflected in their grades. 

    2) Students will be graded on a rubric-based grading scale (1-4 for grades K-6 and 0-4 for grades 7-12) which is a more accurate way of reflecting what a student actually knows.

    For the 21-22 school year, all schools will implement taking behaviors out of grades but only Phase 1 schools will start using the new grade scale.

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  • When will these changes go into effect?

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    We will be rolling out the new grading policies in a phased-in approach. Starting with the 2021-2022 school year, all DVUSD schools will be implementing the policy of taking behaviors out of the grading process to make them authentic. But also in the 21-21 school year there are 9 "Phase 1" schools that will also be using the new grade scales. Starting in the 2022-2023 the remaining schools will begin using the new grading scales. 

    The Phase 1 Schools are: Anthem, Barry Goldwater High School, Deer Valley Middle, New River, Norterra Canyon, Sunset Ridge, Sandra Day O'Connor High School, Terramar, Union Park

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  • What is wrong with the 0-100 point scale that we are all used to?

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    When grading on a "traditional" 0-100 grading scale, in other words giving percentage grades, and then converting that to an A-F grading system, grades are not fair and equal. When an A, B, C, and D are all worth 10 percentage points but an F accounts for everything from a 0-59%, a failing grade has a much larger impact on a student's overall grade. 

    This concept is explained through the research of Thomas R. Guskey in his article The Case Against Percentage Grades

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  • What changes are going to happen with GPA?

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    GPA is going to be calculated just as it always has under the new grading system. Previously teachers would grade on a 100 point percentage scale and that grade would then be converted into an A-F letter grade which was then converted into a 4-0 GPA scale. Well since the grades will now be done in a 4-0 format, no convertions will have to take place. And weighted classes will also remain the same meaning if a student earns a 5 in an Honors Algebra 1-2 course, that 5 will be calculated into the GPA just like in the past. If you go to the "Transcript" section in the menu to the left, you will see this happening in the "Pt" [Point] column on the example transcript.

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  • Who came up with these new grading policies and grading scales?

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    In January of 2018 the district created a Grading and Reporting Committee that consisted of over 100 people consisting of teachers from every grade level and subject area, administrators, district personnel and parents. This committee did not start with the premise that things had to change only to look at our grading practices and if they concluded that policies were not what was best for students, that they create a research-based alternative.

    After engaging in research and bringing in a nationally recognized expert on grading and assessment to talk about academic research, the group unanimously decided that we needed a better system that would represent what a student learned in our classrooms. The committee then divided into two separate groups - one for grades PreK-6 and one for grades 7-12 - because they did not feel that creating one policy and grading scale for PreK-12 was what was best for all students. 

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  • Why are we now changing to a different grading system?

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    Even though we are a unified school district, we never had systems in place to ensure that our grade levels and even subject matter classes were all using consistent, researched-based grading practices. All the academic research shows that using the traditional 0-100 point grading scale and also allowing behaviors to be included into the grades is not a true reflection of what a student knows and so we realized a change was needed. 

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  • Why was this not phased in by grade level so the seniors would not be impacted with something new?

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    Because of our PowerSchools system, changes like this cannot be implimented grade level by grade level. In order to convert the grade books to the new grading scale, it musth happen at an entire school all at once which is why we have Phase 1 and Phase 2 schools. But as outlined in the Transcipt section to the left, you will see it is not a problem to have both the A-F and 4-0 grades reflected on the transcript especially considering that there are no changes to how GPA is calculated. 

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  • Does 4-0 or 4-1 equate to A-F?

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    The 4-0 and the 4-1 scales do NOT equate to A-F. These grading scales are rubric-based with each number representing the different degrees of mastery a student has towards the standard being assessed. Each number will represent the different degree of understanding and it is important to note that only a score of 2-4 will be considered "passing" for an assignment and for grades 7-12 an overall grade of 2-4 is required to pass the course with credit.

    [Note, only Phase 1 schools will implement this new grade scale for the 21-22 school year]

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  • How is this new grading scale different from current grading practices?

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    On a "traditional" 0-100 grading scale, if a student earns between a 90-100% they are issued an "A", 80-89% is a "B", 70-79% is a "C", 60-69% is a "D" and then a student can earn a 0-59% to earn an "F". Each letter grade A-D represents 10 percentage points but an "F" is highly weighted with 59 percentage points. Also, if a student earns an 81% or an 89% it is still considered to be just a "B" and there is no indication in what the difference is between those two grades. All the academic research shows that this type of grading policy is not fair and does not give a true representation of what a student knows. 

    Our new grading scale, either 1-4 for grades K-6 or 0-4 for grades 7-12, represents the research that a more condensed grading scale and one where each category holds equal weight, which better respresents what a student knows. On the traditional scale there are 10 points of variability for a "B" whereas our new scale here is just one category that reflects how much mastery a student has shown on an assignment or in a course. Each number on either the 1-4 or the 0-4 grading scale represents a specific level of mastery that is being graded and it will be up to the teacher, as it always has, to determine the level of proficiency.

    [Note, only Phase 1 schools will implement this new grade scale for the 21-22 school year]

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  • What is a standards-based mindset?

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    Ever since the 1980's, schools have been teaching to each state's set standards and everything that is taught in the class should be a reflection of how well a student has mastered those standards. But the concept of a "standards-based mindset" focuses on the concept that every student is given every opportunity to demonstrate what he or she knows even if that learning happens at a different pace than rest of the class. If a student does poorly on a test they are given the opportunity to do additional learning and retake an equivalent assessment to prove that they have learned that material. 

    Also, all chosen behaviors will be taken out of the grading process to make sure that a grade a student has earned truly represents what that student knows. If a student does not turn in an assignment on time and the teacher only gives them partial credit for that work, even if it is all correct, that grade does not represent what the student learns - it is a combination of knowledge and behavior. So in order for a students' grade to only represent what they have learned, all behaviors will be handed separately from grading. Students will still be held accountable for their behaviors but it will no longer be reflected in the grades. 

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  • Do students have to do less work with these new grading practices?

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    The amount of work students will do does not change with these new grading policies - the classroom teacher still decides what to assign as they always have.

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  • Does this grading system make it easier for students?

    Posted by:

    The purpose of this new unified grade policy is not to make it easier or harder on students but rather to ensure that the grades a student receives accurately represents what the student knows and not have it also reflect any chosen behavior such as turning in work late.

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  • What happens when a student does not turn in work?

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    Each school will determine what that school's specific policy will be for turning in late work for full credit based on their students and community. But if a student still chooses not to turn in their work they will be issues a "1" for K-6 grades and a "0" for 7-12.

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  • Does allowing reassessments prepare kids for the "real-world?"

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    The primary goal of school is to ensure that students learn the academic standards but not all students learn at the same pace or learn material the same way. By allowing students to retake assessments simply gives some students the opportunity they need to master the standards and prove what they have actually learned. But even in the "real world" if a person is taking an assessment to get a professional certificate and they happen to fail that test, they are still allowed to retake that assessment as many times as they need in order to pass. The difference with our policy is that in order for a student to be allowed to retake an assessment, they will have to prove to the teacher that additional learning did take place and if that does not happen, then the original grade will stand. 

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  • How will Honors and AP courses be graded?

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    Traditionally a student who takes an Honors or AP course in high school would recieve a weighted grade that would result in a higher GPA and that practice will not change with the new grade scale. Say a student who takes a Biology 1-2 Honors course earns an A, on their transcript it will show that the A would be worth 5-points on their GPA instead of the standard 4-points. Under the new grading scale, if a student in that Honors class earns a 4, then 5-points will be averaged into their GPA. 

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  • How will "Gifted/Sage" students be graded?

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    Students will be graded on the standards aligned with the course they are enrolled in. For example, a 4th grade student enrolled in 5th grade Math will be graded on the 5th grade math standards. A 4th grade student enrolled in 4th grade Math who is participating in a gifted cohort to receive enrichment learning opportunities will be graded on the 4th grade math standards.

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  • How will the new grade scale affect "No Pass/No Play" rules for participating in AIA sports?

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    Under this new grading policy, "passing" would be considered at earning a 2, 3, or 4 on the grading scale. On the backend of PowerTeacher Pro (our school grade book program), if a student has earned a 1.5 in a course, the system would round that up to a 2 which would be passing. If they have earned a 1.4 or lower, it would be considered failing and they would not be eligible to play. 

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  • Will high school transcripts look different for schools on the new grade scale?

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    Yes transcripts will look different for the next several years until all students have gone through all 4 years of high school using the new 0-4 grading scale. During this transition a transcript will have the already earned A-F grades as well as the 0-4 grades but there will be a key at the bottom explaining the different grades. Colleges and Universities are used to seeing these type of transcripts and so there will be no issues. You will see a whole transcript section in the menu to the left that will go more in details of the changes being made. 

    [Note, only Phase 1 schools will implement this new grade scale for the 21-22 school year]

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  • Have parents or teachers provided input on the grading changes?

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    Parents and teachers were part of the Grading & Reporting Grade Band teams.  Additionally, teachers are part of the Promotion, Retention, Acceleration, and Grading (PRAG) and Grading, Reporting, And Graduation (GRAG) guidebook teams.  In January 2022, after the first semester of the new grading practices were implemented at nine DVUSD schools, parents and teachers were encouraged to participate in surveys.  Here  are the results of the surveys.

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  • How will WestMec grades be reported?

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    WestMec grades are provided by the instructor at WestMec and these grades will be utilized if they are transferred to the high school transcript.

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  • How will this affect dual enrollment courses?

    Posted by:

    Dual enrollment courses are graded based on the college departmental policies concerning late work, retakes, and academic integrity. Even though they will follow the 4-0 grading scale (when implemented at their school), they will not follow all the new district behavioral grading policies. 

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  • What happens if my child changes schools?

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    During these next two years of transitioning into the new grade scales, if a student transfers into or out of a school that has already moved to the new grading standards, there will be conversion scales available to fit into the new school.

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  • How will honor roll and Principal's list work in elementary and middle school?

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    Our K-8th grades we will still conduct quarterly awards that celebrate the academic successes of our students. For those students who earned all 4's for the quarter, they will earn Principal's List and for those students who earned all 3's & 4's, they will get Honor Roll.

    [Note, only Phase 1 schools will implement this new grade scale for the 21-22 school year]

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  • My children are in elementary & high school, how will their grading policies differ?

    Posted by:

    The overall grading policy of taking behaviors out of grading are going to be consistent between all grade levels but there will be two different grade scales. For K-6 students, they will work off of a rubric-based scale of 1-4 points and the 7-12 students will have a grading scale of 0-4 points.

    [Note, only Phase 1 schools will implement this new grade scale for the 21-22 school year]

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  • Does this affect college applications and scholarship opportunities?

    Posted by:

    No this will not affect college applications and scholarships. Schools all over the country work on numerous different types of grading scales and so universities and colleges are used to interpreting transcripts. Historically our teachers would grade students on a 0-100 point scale and would then convert that score into a letter grade (A-F) and then that letter grade was converted into a 0-4 GPA scale for our transcripts. With our new grading scale, teachers will be grading on a 0-4 grading scale which will then already have that 0-4 as a course grade in the 0-4 GPA format on the transcript. See the "Transcripts (High School Only)" section in the menu on the left for more details. 

    [Note, only Phase 1 schools will implement this new grade scale for the 21-22 school year]

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