Thoreau Grading and Reporting

Grading Philosophy

Thoreau’s grading philosophies are based upon best practice and research. In middle school, students are at varying stages of development and readiness and are continuously learning.  We believe the purpose of grades is to provide information about a student’s achievement at a given time and about learning trends during the school year. Additionally, we believe that academic grades must be separate from work habit grades. 

Guiding Principles

At Thoreau, teachers and administrators are dedicated to assessing students’ knowledge using clear and objective measures and communicating those measurements to students and parents.

Grades must:

· Convey achievement of identified standards as outlined in the FCPS Program of Studies 

· Be determined by achievement and not behavior

· Be based on high-quality, complete evidence

· Be calculated appropriately 

· Support student learning

· Be clearly communicated to parents and students on an ongoing basis

Retake Policy

Our students have the additional opportunity to show mastery of content through retakes.  The goal is to allow students the opportunity to demonstrate learning that was not indicated on the initial assessment.  In order for a retake to be provided, students are required to sign up with their teachers within two (2) days from when their original work is returned, and to complete the assigned retake within two (2) weeks. Students are expected to complete all review materials related to the content of the unit.  Additionally, students will need to demonstrate that they have done the necessary preparation to be successful on a retake.  Teachers will work within their departments to determine the type of preparation needed which may include content reviews during the school day or after-school test corrections, etc. 

The highest level of mastery will be recorded in the grade book regardless of whether it was the initial assessment or reassessment.  The original grade earned on assignments and assessments will be noted in the “notes” section of the grade book for intervention purposes and parent information.  If at the end of the two-week window students have not met the set criteria, the grade book will reflect the original score.  Teachers will post and clearly communicate second chance opportunities and deadlines on Schoology and/or in SIS.  

Late Work Policy

To promote mastery of learning, students are held accountable for the completion of all assigned work. Our goal is that our students complete 100% of their work 100% of the time. As a result, our teachers expect students to complete and turn in assignments even when late. Students may be required to complete missing work during the school day, Eagle Time, or after-school. 

If a student has had the opportunity to complete an assignment but has not met the original due date, the teacher will record the equivalent of a 53% in the gradebook using a code designating that the work was not completed. The teacher will provide an explanation in the public notes box with a new deadline for submission. 

Students will have three weeks from the due date to submit the missing assignment for credit. Assignments submitted within the first week will not incur a penalty. Assignments submitted within second and third weeks from the due date will incur a 10% penalty. Assignments not submitted within the late work deadline will remain the equivalent of a 53% in the gradebook.  

If a student is absent and has not completed an assignment, the teacher will record “ABS” in the grade column which has no point value and does not negatively impact a student’s grade. In the public notes box, the teacher will record a comment to explain when the assignment is due and any additional information that is necessary.  

Each day of absence affords one class meeting of makeup work opportunity. If an existing assignment is due during the duration of an absence, the assignment is due upon the first class meeting to which a student returns. If the missing assignment(s) due to absences have not been completed within the absence policy window, the assignment(s) will be considered late and subject to the late work policy. 

The monitoring of students’ work is the responsibility of students, parents and teachers. A variety of methods are available for the monitoring of student progress including SIS, Blackboard/Google Classroom, student agendas, electronic progress reports, parent-teacher emails, etc. Parents and students are advised to review progress reports together and ensure that any assignments are completed within established deadlines. Interventions are in place to help students complete missing assignments, tests or quizzes.

No Zero on 100-Pt. Scale Policy

Zeroes on the 100-point scale mathematically misrepresent actual achievement and can negatively impact a student’s motivation to learn.  Since the 0 on the 100-point scale dramatically distorts a student’s overall grade, it is not used.  Grades are recorded on a scale of 53% – 100%.  No score below 53% will be recorded.  If a student earns below a 53% on an assignment/assessment, the original score earned will be recorded in the notes section of the grade book.

Daily Homework Policy

Daily homework is an important part of the learning process and takes a different form and purpose per content area. When homework is done accurately and in a timely manner, it can increase understanding of concepts, strengthen skills and improve achievement.  Homework is only assigned when it is critical for student understanding or allows students to practice skills that build throughout the year.  Teachers work toward limiting homework over long weekends and holiday breaks.

Daily homework is generally used for the purposes of checking for understanding and practice, and is not included in calculating a student’s grade. There may be times when homework is part of a continuation of classroom work, in which case the portion assigned for homework will not count for more than 10% of a student’s overall quarter grade.


Grade Descriptors 

A and A- Designates the status of a student who consistently demonstrates accurate and complete knowledge of content and skills specified in the FCPS Program of Studies (POS), and applies that knowledge to solve problems in a variety of settings.

B+, B, B- Designates the status of a student who demonstrates knowledge of content and skills specified in the FCPS POS, with some improvement needed in accuracy and/or consistency in performance, applying that knowledge to solve problems in a variety of settings.

C+, C, C- Designates the status of a student who demonstrates knowledge of basic content and skills specified in the POS, but requires additional practice and instructional experiences to acquire skills necessary to solve problems.

D+, D Designates the status of a student who needs significant practice and instructional experiences to acquire the knowledge of basic content and skills specified in the FCPS POS necessary to solve problems.  As a final mark, it is not necessarily sufficient to meet the prerequisite requirements for the next level in a sequence of courses.

F Designates the status of a student who has not demonstrated the basic knowledge of content and/or skills specified in the FCPS POS and requires additional practice and instructional experiences in order to succeed.


Anyone who would like to learn more about Best Practices in Grading and Reporting may refer to  A Repair Kit for Grading—15 Fixes for Broken Grades by Ken O’Connor (2011).