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Grading & Reporting - Frequently Asked Questions


BCPS’ mission to ensure that all students possess and demonstrate the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to be globally completive graduates begins with a grading and reporting structure that ensures consistent and equitable practices. Grades should provide equitable, accurate, specific, and timely information on student progress towards course expectations including feedback that can guide next steps and indicate growth areas.

  • Equitable: The same work, completed in two different classrooms, should receive the same grade.
  • Accurate: Grades are based solely on achievement, which means other factors like behavior and attendance are reported in another section of the report card.
  • Specific: Grading policies should be so clear that students should be able to tell teachers what grade they have earned, even before the teacher calculates it.
  • Timely: Feedback to students is so timely that students can actually use that feedback right away to improve their performance on tests and assignments

Frequently Asked Questions

What is on my child’s report card?

Starting with the 2016-2017 school year, report cards now include an achievement grade and a conduct grade  for each marking period. The report card also indicates absences, tardies, early dismissals, and attendance. Please see report card templates for elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.

The marking-period grade will reflect achievement of course and grade-level standards, as explained in Guiding Practice 2 below, based on graded assignments and assessments. In the BCPS One Gradebook, parents and students may view the scores for all assignments and assessments, as well as the scores for pre-tests, homework, and practice work.  All assignments will be scored, and students will receive feedback on their performance.

Classroom conduct, work completion, and ability to work with adults and peers will be scored on a scale from 0 to 3 on the report card, using the BCPS Skills and Conduct Indicators Rubric. Student behavior and work ethic are critical components to students’ growth as young learners, and homework completion is part of the score.

Who was involved in this decision?

In 2014, a committee of parents, teachers, and administrators started meeting to review and update Board Policy 5210 Grading and Reporting, which had not been revised since 1997. This grading and reporting committee reviewed the most recent and relevant research and practices from across the state and the nation.

Based on the information gathered, the committee determined that the policy needed to be rewritten to reflect more current research-based practices to better align students’ grades with achievement of grade-level standards.

In June 2015, the Board of Education of Baltimore County approved an updated version of Policy 5210, with full implementation to begin August 2016.

Following the approval of Policy 5210, the District Grading Committee was formed to develop procedures and a training plan for the 2015-2016 school year. The chairs and members of the District Grading Committee are listed near the beginning of the Grading and Reporting Procedures Manual, and included administrators and teachers as well as leaders from BCPS central offices.

During the 2015-2016 school year, there was a professional development workgroup made up of principals, assistant principals, leaders from the Division of Curriculum and Instruction, S.T.A.T. teachers, and members of the teachers’ bargaining unit (TABCO). The workgroup designed and carried out trainings for and gathered ideas from school administrators, S.T.A.T. teachers, Curriculum and Instruction leaders, and department chairs.

Where can I learn more information?

The Grading and Reporting Web site includes an introductory video, the six guiding practices, and the Grading and Reporting Procedures Manual. The District Grading Committee created the manual to provide guidance to administrators and teachers as they begin to evolve their grading practices to become more equitable and accurate.

Guiding Practice 1: Grading practices must be supportive of student learning.

The primary role of every educator is to promote learning; therefore, all grading practices will be established to support student motivation to learn. The formative assessment process supports this practice.

Guiding Practice 2: Marking period grades will be based solely on achievement of course and grade-level standards. Classroom conduct, work completion, and ability to work with others will be reported separately using the BCPS Skills and Conduct Indicators.

Marking period grades will be based solely on achievement of course and grade-level standards.  Classroom conduct, work completion, and ability to work with others will be reported separately using the BCPS Skills and Conduct Rubric.

Guiding Practice 3: Students will have multiple opportunities to demonstrate proficiency.

Grades in any course must be based on the students’ level of performance in relation to what the course expectations and standards are and what students are able to demonstrate. Therefore, teachers must gather multiple pieces of evidence, and ensure that students are given multiple opportunities to demonstrate what they know in a variety of formats.

Guiding Practice 4: Grades will be based on a body of evidence.

A body of evidence is a collection of aligned instructional tasks, such as assignments, assessments, presentations, products, and observations used to determine if a student has met identified standards, expectations, or learning goals.

Guiding Practice 5: A consistent grading scale will be used to score assignments and assessments in BCPS One.

When scoring assignments and assessments within the grade book, teachers may choose to use one of the following: a traditional 100-point scale or a 50-point scale.

Guiding Practice 6: Accommodations and modifications will be provided for exceptional learners.

Accommodations are adaptations that “level the playing field” for a student. Accommodations do not change the learning goals/grade-level standards for the student but allow the student to participate in and demonstrate mastery of the standards. It is mandatory to document accommodations for students with a 504 or Individualized Education Program (IEP).  Accommodations do not alter a student’s grade.

Modifications are changes in content and assessment based on the recommendations from the student’s individual educational team. Modifications change the grade-level standards. For example, a fourth grade student may be focusing on standards below the students’ current grade level. The decision to modify standards is a formal individual educational team process that includes parents and students, as appropriate.

How can I provide feedback?

Feedback from all stakeholders can be provided here.

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Verletta White
Interim Superintendent

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