FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why not just do PASS/FAIL? Our student management system, Skyward will not accept a PASS/FAIL grade without counting it for no grade points. That would mean that the high school students and the middle school students earning high school credit would receive no grade points for the entire fourth nine-weeks. Not only this semester, but there would be a no-credit semester for the next six years through the Class of 2026. This would negatively impact every class graduating and their GPA for the next six years. Surely we could find a better way.
How will class rank and GPA be figured? With a waiver from the Lufkin ISD Board of Trustees, GPA and class rank will be figured through the current third nine-weeks. Before we left for spring break this year in March, we had completed the third nine-weeks and every student earned that grade on their own merit and effort. It provides the perfect way to figure GPA and is not dependent on events out of the students’ control.
What if my student was enrolled in an Advanced Placement course this year and is not able to take the AP exam? For this school year only, students in an AP class will receive the 1.14 grade weight whether or not they take the AP test. Students normally need to take the exam to receive the 1.14 grade weight or they receive a weight of 1.08 without the exam. Exams this year will be offered online and will cover ¾ of the material of the class. The exam will also allow the use of notes on the exam. While there is every opportunity to perhaps do better on the exam under these conditions, we realize it may not be possible for every student to take every exam they are scheduled to take. Taking the exams will be an individual student and parent decision without the penalty of losing grade points. Class rank has already been figured using the 1.14 weight. Our normal procedure is to assume that every student takes the exam, thus awarding the 1.14. Had we had a normal semester, the grade weight would have been reduced for those students not taking the test.
Will progress reports be sent during the closure? With a waiver from the Lufkin ISD Board of Trustees, authority will be given to the Superintendent to waive the requirement for progress reports during the closure. The third nine-week report card is available through the parent portal and final report cards will be sent home to close out this school year.
Will the online or take-home packets be graded? There is no way to fairly grade the take home assignments. We are not able to guarantee that all students picked up a packet or had internet access to access the online learning to do the work. Students who were failing at the end of the third nine-weeks were all contacted by their teachers at every grade level. These students will turn in their packets to demonstrate mastery of the subjects and their third nine-weeks grade will be adjusted based upon the work completed at home. Work completed and returned to teachers during this extended closure will be used to monitor student progress toward learning the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. Students will learn through new experiences. While teachers will use a variety of information from students including online observation, assignment completion and parent input to determine how the students are progressing. Students enrolled in dual credit courses or courses required for graduation are the exception. They have had normal assignments and assessments during the closure to determine their grade in the course and receive credit. This is for high school students only.
Why don’t we make online or take home packet grades count as regular grades for class rank? There are too many factors and variables that we don’t control to accurately assess student learning at home. We feel that it would be detrimental to students of all abilities to use traditional grades in this environment. Take-home or online packets will be reviewed as part of our progress monitoring requirement from TEA. Students who were failing at the end of the third nine weeks should complete as much of the packets as possible to ensure mastery of the concept and the opportunity to pass for the third nine weeks.
I am worried that this event may cause my child to not be promoted to the next grade level. Promotion to the next grade level can be made regardless at the discretion of the building principal. With a waiver from the Lufkin Board of Trustees, requiring a 70 for promotion can be waived. Our current policy states that in grade 1-2, 3-5 and 6-8, promotion to the next grade is dependent upon getting an overall average of a 70 on a scale of 100 and making at least a 70 in a combination of the following courses: mathematics, language arts, science and social studies depending on the grade level. With rare exceptions and discussion with primary level parents prior to spring break, students will be promoted. Please check with your campus principal if you have a question or concern.
How will the semester and yearly averages be recorded for the spring of 2020? The average from the third nine-weeks will be the basis for calculation. Remember that we completed the third nine-weeks prior to dismissal for spring break. That grade will be duplicated and recorded as one daily grade in the fourth nine-weeks, giving us two identical numbers to figure the spring semester average for each student. As discussed above, if this grade happened to be a failing grade, students have had the opportunity to do the online or take-home packets to raise that grade. Adjustments will be made to the third nine-weeks average. Several grade levels were concerned about the score students received on the benchmark taken during the third nine-weeks. Teachers will be instructed to look at all third nine-week averages. In cases where the benchmark score lowered the overall third nine-week average it will be removed and will not count in the new third nine-week average. In cases where it helped the overall third nine-week average, it will be kept.
How can you fairly grade students who need accommodations or have disabilities in this online or take-home environment? We are providing all accommodations possible for students who need them. Teachers have also been instructed to consider these factors when assessing student work. Regardless of the amount of effort put into online learning or take-home packets, students are going to have gaps in learning when they return in August.
What plans does the district have to address these gaps? We know that online learning and take-home packets do not substitute for in-school instruction. We are planning summer activities for students needing intervention should we be allowed to return to normal operations in June, as well as changing the scope and sequence of the curriculum next year to take into account the loss of instructional time due to this pandemic.
What about summer school? Right now we are not sure that we will be able to return to operating normally during the summer. We will be sending home curriculum materials to close out the school year in order for students to have their textbooks at home during the summer. These materials will be sent home during the weeks of May 11-15 and May 18-22 through a pick up process at your school. Schools will be contacting you with a time and date for pick up. If you have questions, email Jenae McGuire at firstname.lastname@example.org.