Secondary Grading Guidelines


2015-2016 Secondary Grading Guidelines Revisions 

Northwest ISD maintains a strong commitment to ensuring that all students are future ready with high levels of academic strength including literacy, digital skills, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and communication. The NISD Profile of a Graduate communicates this commitment as we continue to work to prepare students for College, the Global Workplace and for Personal Success. In order to be future ready, our organizational philosophy must align with the daily practices on each campus including the practices in place for communicating academic progress to our students: grades and grading.

Grading guidelines for each grade level or course are communicated and distributed to students and their parents by each campus. These guidelines are annually reviewed by the NISD Curriculum & Instruction department and campus administrative teams. These guidelines establish the minimum number of assignments, projects, and examinations required for each grading period. In addition, these guidelines establish how the student’s mastery of concepts and achievement will be communicated to the students and parents. Grading guidelines also outline in what circumstances a student will be allowed to redo an assignment or retake an examination for which the student originally made a grade below mastery. Procedures for a student to follow for late work, missing work and after an absence are also addressed.

Northwest ISD conducted a survey to collect feedback from the secondary staff during the spring 2015 semester. The results of this survey were analyzed and reviewed by the Secondary Grading Guidelines Committee and recommendations for revisions were submitted to the secondary campus administrative teams. The survey identified four (4) areas that were in need of additional reflection and revision:

–       Late Work Protocol

–       Benefits of Semester Finals Exemptions

–       Reteach/Retest Protocols

–       Communication Expectations

Based on these identified areas of improvement, the Secondary Grading Guidelines Committee and campus administrative teams have developed the revised 2015-2016 Secondary Grading Guidelines. These grading guidelines will be shared with students by their teachers during the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

Northwest ISD remains committed in supporting our teachers, staff and parents as we academically challenge our students and prepare them for future success. We will need to continue to collaborate and effectively communicate as a learning organization to design a grading protocol that aligns with our core beliefs about learning.

NISD Grading Guidelines FAQ’s

What is the purpose of the grading guidelines?
The main purpose of the grading guidelines is to guide students and parents as they monitor their own learning and will persist to relearn content until they have consistently demonstrated mastery of the content.

How were the grading guidelines developed and revised?
For the past few years, Northwest ISD’s Curriculum & Instruction team and campus administration have researched grading practices that fall in line with the district’s goal to prepare future ready graduates. The team gathered input from secondary staff, students, parents and administrators.

The end result were a set of grading guidelines researched and reviewed by the Secondary Grading Guidelines Committee and secondary campus administration that are designed to ensure parents and students understand the expectations and protocols designed to support learners as they work to learn the content to mastery.

How will these grading guidelines help students?
The grading guidelines will give students appropriate access to teachers and allow the teachers to provide them with more feedback, helping them acquire a better understanding of what content they have mastered and what content they need to put more work toward mastering. During this process, teachers and staff will work with students and parents to develop behaviors that better prepare students to be future ready and successful in life. 

Why are students allowed to retake tests/exams and improve their grades?
A student’s grade should reflect his/her mastery of the content. Allowing students to retake an assignment/assessment, lets students reflect on what they have learned and demonstrate an increase in knowledge of the content covered.

All end-of-semester exams are final and will not fall under the same standards as course work issued during the 6-week grading periods. Semester exams are, by design, reassessments and the grades earned reflect a cumulative mastery of the content standards.

Will students be able to retake any assignment/assessment whenever they want?
No, any assessment/assignment that students try to retake must be completed following the retake protocol timeline outlined in the grading guidelines. The purpose of this timeline is to ensure that students engage in a reteach/retake timeline that closely aligns with the schedule of the summative assignment. Additionally, retests will only be allowed once the student has worked with the teacher to prove that new learning has taken place and that they have a better understanding of that content. Students are also expected to submit any missing formative assignments before retaking a summative assessment.

How does a student meet the criteria to retake a summative assignment/assessment?
Students can qualify for the opportunity to retake a test or exam by demonstrating that new learning has occurred and that they have a better understanding of that content.

Examples of this process include but are not limited to:

·        Attending a scheduled tutorial sessions

·        Completing any missing formative assignments aligned to the summative assignment/assessment.

  • Completing new work or previously assigned work
  • Discussing with the teacher the necessary improvements to achieve content mastery