Distance Learning End of Year Grading

Distance learning continues to provide many new challenges to our students, families, and staff. Supporting students during this time involves not only a focus on learning, but their social-emotional needs.  As we continue to implement distance learning, we know many of you have had questions about how students will be assessed and assigned grades in this new learning environment.  As is the case in a traditional learning environment, our approach to grading and assessment differs at the elementary and secondary levels.

It’s also important to note that guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education continues to be refined, so as that changes our approach to assessment may also be adjusted. We will continue to update parents as changes are made.

Elementary Assessment and Grading

Our focus during distance learning is on the most critical things students need to learn and retain. Teachers will continue to mark progress toward essential learning targets, with the priority being Language Arts and Mathematics. 

Our distance learning goals:

  • Every student continues to receive education
  • Education is equitable and every student has the opportunity to access learning
  • Every student has access to appropriate educational materials
  • Every student receives learning opportunities and daily interaction with a licensed teacher

Grading and Assessment:

We will still provide grades at the end of the school year in Empower and Infinite Campus.  During distance learning, our focus at the elementary level is to support progress around essential learning targets by providing students with new learning opportunities while working to sustain previous learning.  Ultimately, our goal is to maintain engagement with students and offer them relevant academic experiences and emotional supports during this challenging time.

Middle School and High School Assessment and Grading

Both secondary and post-secondary schools around the country have been grappling with these issues both for current students and – in the case of college admissions offices – potential future students.  While there are still many unknowns, it is clear that a traditional form of assessment may not be the best course for every student.  

Distance Learning Grading Goals

  1. Grades assessed will reflect, as accurately as possible, student learning;
  2. Student learning is maximized for all students; and 
  3. Students whose learning suffers in a distance learning environment are not punished for circumstances beyond their control.

Distance Learning Grading Plan
Teachers will continue to assess learning and calculate grades throughout the remainder of the year. Instruction will be aligned to the same goals as before the school closure, but teachers are narrowing their focus to the most essential learning outcomes. During traditional schooling, students were often able to demonstrate their learning in multiple ways and through open-ended tasks that invited student ownership and choice. These kinds of tasks become even more important during distance learning. Traditional tests taken under teacher supervision remain an important part of schooling, but they are virtually impossible to recreate during distance learning. The district will continue to support teachers and partner with families to develop ways to measure student learning that are valid and equitable.

Once final grades are issued, students will have the option of either accepting the grade, or choosing to take the class Pass (60% or higher)/No Grade.  Credit recovery will be available for students who receive a “No Grade.”   There will be no Incompletes given. 

Continuing to provide a traditional grading option is important, especially for those students pursuing post-secondary education.  We also recognize that this approach to learning is challenging for some.  By offering a choice, but delaying that choice until the end of learning, we are continuing to support and encourage student engagement while providing a credit option that acknowledges the challenges our families are facing.

Your teachers, counselors, and administrators are available to answer any questions you might have about grading or what option may be best given your child(ren)’s post-secondary plans.

Early Childhood Education Distance Learning

Early childhood teachers will continue to support students and parents in their preschool and early childhood family education classes through weekly lesson plans and google meets sessions.  Preschool students have been assessed twice this year and information has been shared with parents at spring conferences.  Please contact your child’s teacher if you have questions or concerns.

We continue to be grateful for your support and partnership as we work through distance learning together.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child(ren)’s teachers and building leadership if you have questions or concerns.