The Highland Park ISD board of trustees Tuesday approved by a 6-1 vote an alternative credit/no credit grading model to the original plan introduced that will allow high school students to receive numeric grades toward their GPA for this spring semester.
Students will receive credit or no credit for the remote learning period based on proficiency on all essential learning objectives.
Semester grades for high school students will be an average of the fourth six weeks grade and a grade for the remote learning period, which will be either 100% for students who met the objectives and received credit or 69% for those who didn’t receive credit. This average will be posted on the transcript and calculated into the cumulative GPA.
“We’ve been all wrestling very much with the unknowns of how anything we do will be treated on the back end, largely by college administrators, and this plan allows us to continue living by our current GPA guidelines,” Trustee Edward Herring said. “This provides for a numeric clean transcript which, I think, leaves nothing to chance from a college admissions perspective.”
Similarly, middle school students who are taking courses for high school credit will receive numeric grades, also calculated with either a 100 or 69 for the remote learning period, on their high school transcript. In accordance with current practice, grades received in middle school will not be calculated into students’ cumulative high school GPA.
“The global pandemic has forced many difficult decisions to be made, one of which is how to handle grading and GPA for high school students during this unique period,” HPISD Superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg said. “As we said from the outset of the discussion, there are no perfect solutions. We sincerely appreciate the patience of the board and the community as we worked through how to address this challenge. We received a lot of constructive feedback.”
Students taking Advanced Placement classes will also not be required – but are still encouraged – to take AP exams for potential college credit. In addition, the requirement of 50 hours of community service for the current senior class was waived.
Graduation honors for the top 10 students in the 2020 graduating class, including valedictorian and salutatorian, will be determined through the end of the fourth six weeks. Honors for cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude will be awarded through the higher of either the end of the fall 2019 semester or the end of the 2020 fourth six weeks.
As initially outlined, McCulloch Intermediate and Highland Park Middle School students will receive credit based on work collected each week by their teachers. Feedback on student work is being provided in Google Classroom. Teachers are using a variety of assignments and assessments during the remainder of the semester to determine proficiency on essential standards.
At the elementary school level, a modified report to parents will be used that will include standards/objectives for which students have been taught during the emergency remote learning period. The report will indicate whether a student is promoted to the next grade.
Highland Park High School Principal Walter Kelly also discussed senior events.
“With regards to seniors, I mean, this is both personal and highly empathetic,” Kelly said. “It’s a rite of passage as a senior to go through a lot of the activities.”
Trigg added that they hope to have some type of in-person graduation at some point.