Assessments and Grading
Working to help the district reach its core value of continuous improvement.
The Department of Program, Evaluation and Assessment supports student learning through support of:
- Research around student learning and instruction;
- Support in data interpretation and measurements
- Evaluation of district and school programs; and
- Management and support for district and state-mandated assessments
- Testing Purpose
- District Testing Schedule by School
- Refusal for Student Participation in Statewide Testing
Student grades are meant to provide an accurate reflection of a student's learning with what they know based on grade level academic standards.
For grading policies and questions, contact your child's school.
SoWashCo Schools uses standards-based progress reports for kindergarten through grade 5. Learning goals are clearly stated through learning targets to evaluate a student's success in learning. These progress report helps us better communicate to parents the link between the Minnesota state standards and how we assess student achievement in those standards.
Standards-based progress reports give students a progress score from 1 to 4 in a number of standards for reading, writing, math, physical education, library and media, science, social studies, visual arts, music, health, work habits and social and emotional development. If a student has reached the beginning level of the standard, they will receive a 1. If a student exceeds the standard, they will receive a 4. The progress reports include measurements called "success criteria" that clearly identifies how these scores describe student performance at each level. Most students will receive a score of 1 or 2 at the beginning of the year as they are just starting to show achievement toward the year-long standards.
The success criteria will give teachers and parents additional information about student learning, specific to your student's learning needs measured against a standard. Students will be given the progress reports three times a year, once during fall conferences, once during winter conferences and at the end of the school year.
Grading Academic Grades will consist of two categories:
- Practice (Formative Assessment)– This is commonly known as ”homework” and is weighted at no more than 20% of the total academic grade. Formative assessment is a venue for teachers to give feedback to students in regard to their learning. Examples of practice includes class work, assignments, study guides, class activities, etc.
- Assessments (Summative Assessment)– This is commonly known as tests, quizzes, labs, projects, etc. Assessments are weighted at 80% or more of the total academic grade.
Parents are informed formally (each trimester) of their child’s achievement and progress.
- The professional judgment of teachers should be respected.
- Teachers will not offer extra credit in order to improve academic grades.
- Teachers will provide clear explanation of all formative practice and summative assessments.
- Academic dishonesty will be addressed with behavioral consequences, not academic penalties.
- Individual assessment and practice scores below 50% will be adjusted to 50% (a failing grade) in the grade book with the earned score noted as a comment in the teacher’s grade book.
- Summative Re-takes: All students are allowed re-takes on summative assessments. (Students receiving a grade of a “D” or an “F” on any assessment will be highly encouraged to re-test in order to show additional learning and understanding of the stated outcomes.) Students will be provided the opportunity to re-take only if they have completed all of their practice work/new learning (as defined by the classroom teacher) prior to the date of the re-take. Re-takes will resemble the original assessment in content, rigor and format. Students are expected to initiate any re-take they choose to complete. Reassessment beyond tests in the cases of quizzes and projects, etc. are left to the discretion of the teacher.
- How many re-takes are allowed? At this time it has been determined that each student is allowed one re-take if requested. Any offering of additional re-takes will be at the discretion of the teacher.
- What score is allowed on the first re-take? Students are allowed to earn a score up to 100% on the first re-take for their grade to accurately reflect what the student knows and can do.
- Missing work will be reflected in the grade book as an “L” for “Late” and will be calculated as 50% (failing) on the grading scale. When “L’s” are entered in to the grade book, the system will calculate the “L” as 50% (F) until a student completes the missing task. This is so parents/students recognize how missing work is impacting a student’s learning/grade until completed. *We believe that all students have an obligation to complete their homework and assessments. It is an expectation for all students to complete assigned work rather than not participate fully in their learning and receive a failing score for work not turned in/completed.
- Does this mean that students will never receive “no credit” for not completing their work? No. Students will receive no credit if they haven’t taken advantage of the additional learning opportunities and support offered to them to complete their homework/ assignment obligations and demonstrate learning has taken place. Staff members should communicate with students/families in regard to their expectations related to how missing work is remedied and communicated within their grade book. If a student does not complete an assessment they will receive an “I” Incomplete or an “F” for failing on their report card grade. At the end of the grading term and/or academic year any student with an Incomplete or Failing grade will be referred to targeted services programming and/or summer school.
- Grading has been very individualized in the past and for the intent of consistency across the district and support of student learning, the grading scale below is being utilized at all SoWashCo middle schools. The letter grade intervals have been equalized and past practice of having an ‘F’ interval ranging from 0-59 points has not been a fair/accurate representation to the other letter grades of A through D that were developed on a 10 point range. Equal intervals for all grades A through F has been determined and is represented on a scale ranging from 50% to 100%. Reporting 50% on an assignment that was not completed is not giving the student “half credit,” it is giving the student no credit/failing mark per the scale below.
- Class Rank
- Course Failure
- Grade Point Averages (GPA)
- Graduation Requirements
- Mid-term Progress Reports
- Pass/No Credit Program
- Report Cards
- Testing Out
- Weighted Grading
SoWashCo high schools do not provide class ranks. Information indicating a class rank using either the academic or all-subject grade point averages will not be issued internally or externally to staff, students, parents, or other academic institutions or agencies.
Due to the nature of our curriculum and the ability of our students, we believe that statistical class rank would represent an inaccurate assessment of a student's abilities and potential for collegiate success.
Course failure defined: The student has not achieved the expected level of competence in the course outcomes, concept development or skill attainment. Further, it is the assessment of the classroom instructor that the student's continuous academic progress is best served by the student repeating the course. The "F" has a value of (0.00) in the district's grading system. It counts as an attempted credit in determining the student's GPA.
|Grade/Percentage||Unweighted GPA Value||Weighted GPA Value|
|A = 93-100%||4.0||4.8|
|A- = 90-92.99%||3.667||4.4004|
|B+ = 87-89.99%||3.333||3.9996|
|B = 83-86.99%||3.0||3.6|
|B- = 80-82.99%||2.667||3.2004|
|C+ = 77-79.99%||2.333||2.7996|
|C = 73-76.99%||2.0||2.4|
|C- = 70-72.99%||1.667||2.0004|
|D+ = 67-69.99%||1.333||1.5996|
|D = 63-66.99%||1.0||1.2|
|D- = 60-62.99%||0.667||0.8004|
|F = Below 59.99%||0.0||0.0|
Students must meet all course credit requirements and graduation standards, as established by the State of Minnesota and the SoWashCo School Board, in order to graduate.
Students must earn:
- 12 credits in English
- 10 credits in Social Studies (including 1 cr in Political Science and 1 cr in Economics)
- 9 credits in Mathematics
- 9 credits in Science (must include one year of Biology and one year of Chemistry or Physics)
- 1 credit in General Physical Education
- 1 credit in Health (embedded throughout high school)
- 2 credits in Fine Arts
- 22 credits in electives
Total of 66 credits
Students must fulfill all of the requirements of each course before a grade will be issued. Students who have been ill/absent for an excused reason and are issued an incomplete must make up the incomplete work within 2 weeks of when grades are published (unless granted an extended time period as approved by administration). No credit will be awarded for the course until the incomplete is made up and an alpha grade is issued. The "I" has a mark value of (0). It counts as an attempted credit in determining the student's GPA.
Mid-term reports are available to view via Parent Portal before conferences each trimester. Teachers may send periodic reports or call parents if a student is receiving a failing or near failing grade in their respective courses. If a student is failing after mid-term, the teacher must notify the parents by mail or phone call.
Students may request to take an elective course for Pass/No Credit by filling out the appropriate form.
- Only two elective class can be taken under this program per trimester, per year.
- Once the decision has been made, the student is to:
- Pick up a pass/no credit form in the Counseling and Career Center, obtain parent/guardian signature, and return it to the counselor.
- After the counselor has reviewed and approved the request, the teacher will receive a copy of the form.
- All grading during the trimester will remain the same; only the final grade will differ.
- Students returning from out-of district placements, or with special circumstances, may be granted extended pass/no credit options.
Pass/No Credit facts to know:
- After making a decision to be graded "pass/no credit" in an elective course, a student cannot later change his/her mind.
- A pass/no credit grade will not be part of the GPA.
- A course taken on the pass/no credit program and successfully completed will receive the same one credit toward graduation as offered under the alpha system.
- To receive credit, students must earn a minimum of a "D" grade. A class may not require a grade equivalent above a "D" to earn a "pass" grade. Teachers must notify students who have chosen the "P" grade what criteria will be used to determine the "D" grade, or what is expected in order to pass the class.
Pass/No Credit for Special Education Students
Pass/No Credit for Special Education Students Students whose courses/subjects are modified or adapted by an Individual Education Plan (IEP) shall earn grades consistent with normal grading practices unless the IEP provides for an alternate grading system. The alternate grading system shall provide a "P" for satisfactory progress or a "N" for no credit toward IEP goals and shall be determined by the student's special education IEP Team.
Students' grades will be posted to parents/guardians for review at the end of each trimester via Campus Parent Portal. Parents can track student grades and GPA (and attendance) throughout the school year by using Campus Parent Portal. To register for an account, contact the Department of Student Information at (651)-458-6236.
SoWashCo Schools will grant credit on a performance basis for any course, except Physical Education, in grades 7-12 if a student successfully completes an approved assessment. The assessment will represent the content included in the subject.
Testing out is an opportunity to earn credits for a course a student has not yet taken at any institution or online. Testing out implies that the student is ready and capable of taking the test when the application is submitted. Students may not attempt testing out of a course in which they have been previously enrolled.
If the student passes the assessment with the grade of B or better, credit with a grade of P (pass) will be added to the transcript.
Applications for testing out of a course may be obtained by contacting your counseling office and must be submitted by the posted deadline.
- Advanced Placement (AP)
- International Baccalaureate (IB)
- College in the Schools (CIS)
- Northeast Metro 916 (916)
- Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO)
- Project Lead the Way (PLTW)
About Advanced Placement (AP)
SoWashCo Schools is committed to offering our students a variety of rigorous learning opportunities. Advanced Placement courses let students participate in college-level coursework while enrolled in a high school setting.
Students can earn college credit, stand out in the college admissions process, gain skills that will help them succeed in college, and broaden their intellectual horizons.
Students taking AP courses are prepared to take the AP exam but also develop learning habits needed to handle more rigorous coursework, improve writing skills, and sharpen problem-solving abilities.
SoWashCo Schools provides testing sites each May for AP exams and offers many AP courses that prepare students for success on the exams. Students who score 3 ,4 or 5 on AP exams often receive credit or advanced standing upon college admission. AP grades are weighted using a 1.2x multiplier.
Course specific AP testing information, including testing dates, can be found on the College Board website. AP tests can only be taken for courses currently offered at each high school.
AP Exam Fee: 2022 AP exams are $60 each. Students who educational benefits (free or reduced price lunch) will pay $15 per AP exam.
Accommodations: Students with documented disabilities must submit their request for accommodations by January 7, 2022. See the AP website getting accommodations webpage. Students will need to provide supporting documentation along with the request. If you have received accommodation for a previous AP exam, you will not need to apply again.
Cancellation Fees: For 2022, there will be a $40 fee for AP exam cancellations beginning on Nov. 15, 2021 at 11 p.m. There are no refunds for late registration fees.
International Baccalaureate (IB) programs challenge students to excel in their studies, and encourage both personal and academic achievement. IB courses grades are weighted.
The International Baccalaureate Program aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
The IB program is currently only available at Park High School.
College in the Schools gives students direct experience with the pace, academic standards and individual responsibilities inherent in college education. These courses are actual University of MN courses taken at SoWashCo high schools and the students earn University of MN course credit. CIS grades are weighted using a 1.2x multiplier.
College in the Schools is not offered at all high school sites.
The 916 Career and Technical Center, on the Century College campus, provides a wide range of course offerings to juniors and seniors who wish to explore career options in business, health, public services and technology by integrating academic learning with technical education. The district provides transportation to this program, but students must provide transportation to satellite programs.
Students who are either juniors or seniors may be eligible for 916 courses. However, students need to make sure they are addressing their required courses for graduation before they can participate in 916 courses. It is advised that students consult with their counselor to see if they can work the 916 courses into their schedule.
To view current available 916 courses, please visit their website.
In the registration guide, under each course description it will indicate whether or not students can earn college credits in taking that course. More than 100 college courses at 12 colleges are articulated through the 916 courses. To find out which colleges grant college credits, visit www.nemetro.k12.mn.us. Search for career articulation.
Important PSEO Documents:
Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) is a program that allows students going into 10th, 11th and 12th grade to earn both high school and college credit while still in high school, through enrollment in and successful completion of college nonsectarian courses at eligible participating postsecondary institutions. Most PSEO courses are offered on the campus of the postsecondary institution; some courses are offered online. Each participating college or university sets its own requirements for enrollment into the PSEO courses. 11th- and 12th-grade students may take PSEO courses on a full- or part-time basis; 10th-graders may take one career/technical PSEO course. If 10th- graders taking a CTE PSEO course earn at least a grade C in that class, they may take additional CTE PSEO courses. Students must meet the PSEO residency and eligibility requirements and abide by participation limits specified in Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.09. If a school district determines a pupil is not on track to graduate, she/he may continue to participate in PSEO.
There is no charge to PSEO students for tuition, books or fees for items that are required to participate in a course. Enrolling in a PSEO course does not prohibit a student from participating in activities sponsored by the high school. Funds are available to help pay transportation expenses for qualifying students to participate in PSEO courses on college campuses.
Project Lead the Way's (PLTW) programs emphasize critical thinking, creativity, innovation and real-world problem solving. The hands-on learning engages students on multiple levels, exposes them to areas of study that they may not otherwise pursue and provides them with a foundation and proven path to post-secondary training and career success in STEM-related fields.
Through engineering, students create, design, build, discover, collaborate and solve problems while applying what they learn in math and science. Our engineering program engages students in activities, projects, and problem-based (APPB) learning, which provide hands-on classroom experiences. SoWashCo Schools offers classes from the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) curriculum.
PLTW is the leading U.S. provider of rigorous and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education programs. SoWashCo Schools students have the opportunity to earn college credit for engineering courses by obtaining a passing score on the end of course exam coupled with approval from the college.
To learn more about the PLTW program, visit their website.