School Board Changes Grading Policy for First Semester

In a unanimous vote, the school board reduced the minimum number of summative assessments.


Calvin Mellor

In their second in-person meeting since March, the School Board met for hours discussing in-person learning, grading policies, and numerous other topics.

The Loudoun County School board voted unanimously last night to make a temporary change to the grading policy for the first semester of school this year, which would make each summative assessment worth a maximum of 25% of a class quarter grade instead of 20%. The change, which reverts back to the original policy for the second semester, also reduces the minimum number of summative assessments from 5 to 4 per quarter.

According to the proposal, “Due to the distance learning and hybrid in-person learning in the 2020-2021 school year… Staff is seeking flexibility from the School Board with regard to implementing [the new grading policy] during distance and hybrid in-person learning.” The idea is that this revision will eliminate the burden of teachers having to cram additional assessments in to meet the county requirements.

Other changes included with the proposal, but which did not require a board vote, are clarifications for both teachers and students to the existing policies regarding retakes of summative assessments. Summative assessments should not be copies of the original assessment and can even be in a different format, such as an oral exam or mini-project. The clarifications further emphasize that formative assessments are intended to demonstrate knowledge of new material as opposed to material already learned.

“I requested the committee revisit the underlying policy, which could use tweaking, in my opinion,” Atoosa Reaser said, referring to the policy regarding retakes. “The number of retakes allowed is not precisely defined.” 

Board members participated both in person and remotely, with Chairman Sheridan (Sterling District), Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge District), Leslee King (Broad Run District), John Beatty (Catoctin District), and Jeff Morse (Dulles District) present in the boardroom, and Vice-Chairman Atoosa Reaser (Algonkian District), Denise Corbo (At-Large), Harris Mahedavi (Ashburn District), and Beth Barts (Leesburg District) participating from their homes.

The video from the meeting can be found on the School Board Website: