All CVHS students receive a semester grade in each class. Semester grades are used to calculate a GPA (Grade Point Average), which is in turn used to determine academic honors and shared with colleges through transcripts.
There are many different philosophies and practices related to grading and each teacher is ultimately able to determine her own grading policies. This means that there are multiple ways that teachers arrive at a final semester grade, most involve some system of points and percentages, but not all.
In recent years we've had many conversations about grading, what a grade means, what is included in a grade, and how to fairly and accurately grade. Again, in all grading systems, all students receive a semester grade and have a calculated GPA and all students are expected to meet the same standards and expectations.
A number of teachers at CVHS have moved Learning-Focused Grading, with more expecting to join in one form or another this year. Learning-Focused Grading is providing instruction and assessment without including letter grades and points until the end of the semester. Instead, students receive feedback from the teacher about what they are doing well and how they can improve. This puts the focus on learning. It makes school less of a competition and more of a place to explore, make mistakes, and learn. It makes teachers coaches instead of scorekeepers.
So what does this look like? Students are still assigned various tasks, but those do not receive a letter grade and points. Instead students receive feedback from the teacher. Because there are no grades in the gradebook, other forms of communication are very important. With this approach, teachers make many more opportunities to interact with students. Parents are encouraged to interact with students as well to discuss how things are going. Parents may also email teachers about student progress along the way as needed. Student will still earn a final semester grade. This grade will be determined by the student and the teacher based on the learning that took place throughout the semester. Teachers may also utilize some other strategies like student self-assessment, contract grading, or portfolios.
Some teacher may not totally remove letter grades and points, but may provide fewer grades and points, and instead provide more feedback. They may also use 4 point systems or 2 point systems to minimize the impact of points and percentages. Most teachers utilizing Learning-Focused Grading will institute other practices, like non-mandatory homework and multiple opportunities to revise and resubmit work.
Why do this? To put the focus on learning and to remove stress from students which is often associated with chasing points and chasing an A.
If your student is in a classroom with a Learning-Focused Grading system and you have questions, be sure to communicate with the teacher as needed. This is a way of schooling that is not what you are used to, but it has many benefits, which we believe you will come to recognize as you gain experience with Learning-Focused Grading.