Alpine School District takes ‘no harm approach’ grading procedure amid COVID-19 pandemic

Education

MGN ONLINE

AMERICAN FORK, Utah (ABC4 News) – Easily one of the most looming concerns to many parents of school-age children is what’s going to happen to their child’s grades during the pandemic.

Governor Gary Herbert’s soft closure of Utah public schools went into effect in mid- March. As Utah continues to deal with a new way of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic, classroom learning has shifted to at-home online learning which for some students and teachers hasn’t been the smoothest transition.

Related: Challenges schools face during the pandemic

In recognition of these challenging times, Alpine School District will modify it’s grading policy for the 4th term. Secondary students will not receive an “F” grade.

Here’s how it breaks down:

Potential Grades will be A, A-, B+, B-, C+, C and P (Pass), anything below a C grade will be a P (Pass). Additionally, students wanting the (Pass) instead of the letter grade can request the option.

Kimberly Bird, Public Information Officer for Alpine School District tells ABC4, “the shift to online learning has been quite overwhelming for our students. according to parents we’ve heard from. We wanted to offer a 4th term response in the midst of what’s going on in the world while maintaining online teaching.” In terms of new assignments, teachers will not assign anything new after May 12th.

Related: Utah schools are out the rest of the year, what does that mean for high school graduations?

These measures are in response to the devastation caused by the pandemic in many households not only in the local communities but across the nation. ASD says with over 80,000 students enrolled in schools throughout their district, households vary with the number of students who may be in one home, this leads to a possible slowing and or limited wifi availability and ultimately students not getting assignments turned in on time.

“It’s important for parents and students to note, the May 12 date isn’t an ending of the school year,” says Kimberly Bird. Students will have until May 19 to finish and turn assignments in. The exception being students doing AP testing, which runs from May 11th until May 22nd, in which teachers will continue reviews. Those students wanting a (Pass) instead of a letter grade in any particular class, will have until May 22 at 9 p.m. to make such requests. The P (Pass) will not impact the Grade Point Average, Bird added. The GPA will not go up or down, but credit will still be awarded. Teachers will have until May 27, to override the letter grade to a (Pass).

In regards to students in elementary grades (K-6), no new material will be assigned after May 12, and teachers will begin their reviews for core materials on May 13th.

Bird says “Alpine School District decided on compassion with their 4th term grading because we can explain what happened during this pandemic, and we had to make an exception because no one envisioned this.”

Related: Two Utah schools recognized by U.S. Department of Education

It’s important for students to remain engaged during this time so learning will continue until the last day school May 29, students just won’t be associated with new assignments. The “no harm approach” made the most sense for the 4th term grading says Bird. Several parents have reached out with great appreciation for this decision. But there are some teachers and parents who may have concerns, Kimberly Bird says “we can feel confident at the end of the 4th term as the nation is experiencing a global pandemic, our decision may not make everyone happy, but we’ve made the majority of our students and parents happy.”

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