Traditional grading has been done away with for the final quarter of classes in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District under new guidelines rolled out Tuesday afternoon for grading during the coronavirus-caused school closures.
“It is my hope that the grading guidelines will relieve stress for educators, families and students,” Superintendent Karen Gaborik wrote in an email to families. “The guidelines clarify the district’s teaching and learning goals for second semester at the elementary, middle and high school levels, with an emphasis on feedback.
“The guidelines also address questions about how final quarter and semester grades will be determined,” she wrote.
Students in kindergarten through sixth grade will receive an “NS” grade for the fourth quarter, indicating there was not sufficient evidence to assign traditional grades. Students in seventh and eighth grade will receive an “NG” grade for fourth quarter, indicating the same as an “NS” grade. “NG” traditionally stands for “no grade.”
Grades for quarters one through three remain the standard grades determined prior to quarter four beginning.
Teachers will continue providing assignments and assessments via remote learning for students to turn in. Assignments turned in during remote learning instructional weeks will be returned with feedback but not grades.
High school students, meanwhile, will be awarded credit for the semester. They will receive semester grades based upon the work completed up until the point schools closed. Third-quarter grades will be recorded as final semester grades, with some exceptions.
For example, teachers can provide students who want to raise their third-quarter grade the opportunity to do so. Students who were enrolled in eLearning classes prior to the closure can finish their classes.
There are no final exams for high school this semester, with the exception of eLearning courses.
Spring 2020 grades will not be included in students’ grade point averages. GPAs, class rank, honor cords and other academic distinctions will be based on the end of first semester grades for graduating seniors.
Seniors can request to withdraw from any class they do not need for graduation and receive a “W” on their transcript by requesting to do so through their high school counselor by April 20.
Students may take “challenge exams” for core classes where available to earn semester credits with an “A” or a “B.”
As with elementary and middle school grades, teachers are to continue providing learning options for students this quarter but will provide feedback, not grades, on assignments returned during remote learning instructional weeks.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy mandated that schools be closed through May 1 last month. The school year in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District ends on May 19.