Update on Grading Practices

The following letter was sent to families in grades 4-12 on Friday, October 7th via email and Infinite Campus.

Dear Weston School families,

After continued feedback from stakeholders and frank discussions with faculty, administrators, and members of the School Committee, we have made the decision to put the whole standards-based grading practice initiative on hold for at least the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year. We instead will revert back to our long standing practice supported by School Committee policy, where secondary teachers, in consultation with their grade level/subject teams and their departments and taking into consideration students’ grade level and subject matter, determine their own grading practices.

Teachers will grade students as they have done in the past:

-Some teachers and teacher teams use a 50-100 point grading scale, as some have done in the past; others use a 0-100 point grading scale.
-Some teachers and teacher teams provide opportunities for retakes; others do not. Of the teachers who do provide retakes, there are variances in how many retakes a student can have and whether the retakes are for an A or for a B.
-Teachers count homework and classwork as part of the overall grade. They determine how much it counts.
-Teachers continue to use various scales to grade individual assignments. The whole grade for the term, however, will be calculated in percentages and reported as a letter grade on report cards and transcripts, as was always the plan.

To be clear, all report cards would have remained the same, with grades based upon percentages. We never considered using a 4-point scale to calculate the total grade, nor do we have any intention of doing so. Finally, as consistent with past practice, administrators will support teachers’ grading practices when specific issues involving assessments and grading arise.

Since the administration is rescinding the standards-based grading initiative, a number of teachers may want to make adjustments to their previously announced practice. Next week all teachers will communicate clearly to students and families about what their grading practices are and what adjustments have been made. First quarter progress reports will be available to students and families on Monday October 17th. A few seniors may need their progress reports sooner than October 17th. If this is the case, please connect with your guidance counselor and we will provide the information you need.

We greatly appreciate parents, guardians and students advocating for clarity. We are continually reminded how much all of us care about and support our children’s schooling. We will continue to hear feedback and answer questions in our community forums. We acknowledge that our roll-out was flawed, parents and students were excluded from the process, and communication was unclear. This led to much-heightened confusion and anxiety for students and families. We sincerely apologize to all for the stress that we have caused. We can and will do better.

We firmly believe that more consistency and transparency in our existing secondary grading practices will be beneficial for our students. After all the forums have been completed, we will establish a grading task force including parents/guardians, students, teachers and administrators. Participants in the task force will together explore the research behind grading practices, help determine and prioritize areas of focus, assess the current practice, have an opportunity to make recommendations and create a thoughtful community engagement plan. If you are interested in joining the task force, please send a short statement of interest to superintendent@weston.org.

Thank you, students and families, for asking questions, expressing concerns and being engaged. Together, we can work together to improve our grading practices to best help Weston students. We are looking forward to the partnership.

Dr. Midge Connolly, Superintendent
Dr. Kimo Carter, Asst. Superintendent for Teaching & Learning
Amy Kelly, Director of Equity and Professional Learning
Paul Peri, High School Principal
John Gibbons, Middle School Principal