CPS Overhauls Grading for Remote Learning

By Will Foster ’20

Chicago Public Schools on Thursday announced major changes in its grading system for the remainder of the school year, causing confusion and dismay among Payton students who had hoped that the current system — in which assignments can help, but never hurt, a student’s letter grade — would continue.

Under the new policy, students can receive one of three types of grades: a traditional letter grade, a pass, or an incomplete. Although the initial guidance led to some confusion among Payton students about the criteria for receiving each aforementioned type of grade, another document — entitled “Remote Learning Grading Guide for Parents and Families” — provides significant clarity. (The document was first brought to the Paw Print’s attention by Finley Williams of the Lane Warrior.)

For example, CPS provides the following scenario: “A student had a B average in Geometry at the end of the third quarter. During remote learning, the student applied himself, submitted all assignments, took advantage of re-take opportunities, and improved their final semester grade to A. This student will be issued a final semester grade of A. They will receive full course credit, and their transcript will reflect an A.”

Another scenario: “A student earned a D in Geometry at the end of the third quarter. During remote learning, they had access to a computer and occasionally joined Office Hours. The student did not submit the majority of assignments and was non-responsive to the teacher’s efforts to engage the student. The student ended the semester with a grade of F. The students final second semester grade will be Incomplete. The student’s GPA will not be impacted, but she will not receive course credit for Geometry. The student will need to complete a credit recovery pathway to earn course credit toward graduation.”

The new Chicago Public Schools high school grading guidelines, shown for different scenarios based on student performance. (Image courtesy of CPS)

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