Board of Education Approves Revised Grading Policy; Secondary Students To Have Option of Letter Grade or "Pass" for the Semester
Dear Parents, Guardians, Students and Staff:
Based on the extraordinary circumstances associated with COVID-19 and the transition to remote learning in MCPS, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted today (May 12) to suspend its current grading policy and replace it with a temporary grading system for elementary, middle and high school students.
Thousands of MCPS students, staff, parents and community members provided input, sent emails, and generated new ideas about grading options. In response to this feedback, the Board aimed to adopt a system that was fair and equitable for all students.
For the 2019-2020 School Year (which ends on June 15):
- For the 4th Marking Period (MP4), middle and high schools will continue to use a Pass/Incomplete grading system, based on established criteria. By passing the 4th Marking Period, high school students will be able to earn a semester grade in each course that is one letter grade higher than the grade they received at the end of the 3rd Marking Period (MP3). If a student selects the option of receiving a letter grade, the final semester grade will then be reported on the transcript and factored into the cumulative grade point average (GPA). This grading option aligns with practices built into the current grading system and provides students an opportunity to improve their grade from MP3.
- In lieu of a letter grade, high school students may also opt to have a “Pass” as a final grade for the semester (if they meet all of the criteria) and may select this option on a course-by-course basis. If opting for a “Pass” in a course, the grade will not be factored into the student’s cumulative GPA.
- Transcript entries for the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year will be marked with a symbol noting “COVID-19.”
- Students who do not meet the criteria for passing a course in the 4th Marking Period will be issued an incomplete.
- For middle school students taking full-year courses, the final grade in each course will be based on an average of Marking Periods 1, 2 and 3, with a “Pass” for MP4 counting as one letter grade higher than MP3, similar to high school. Grades for middle school students taking high school level courses will follow the approved high school grading policy.
- Letter grades will not be assigned for the 4th Marking Period. The emphasis will be on engaging students in learning experiences and connecting with as many students as possible. For students in grades 2-5, the final letter grade will be based on the average of MP1, MP2 and MP3.
MCPS staff will finalize processes and systems to ensure equitable application of this new policy and to ensure that students and families have the information they need to make an informed decision.
During the meeting discussion, Board members acknowledged that there is no perfect system, but emphasized the importance of adopting a grading system that provides students with options, has a positive impact and can only help students’ academic standing.
*Please note, the above slide refers to high school semester courses only
Watch the Board discussion
Continuity of Learning webpage
Montgomery County Public Schools