GISD board of trustees approved the decision during an April 20 virtual meeting, noting the decision was difficult to make.
“Trying to find a way to find perfection in an imperfect system at an imperfect time is impossible,” Trustee Andy Webb said.
Grading will break down in the following ways:
- Final rank and GPA will be calculated based on final fall 2019 semester grades.
- Grades of complete and incomplete for the spring 2020 semester shall not be included in calculation of GPAs and weighted GPAs.
- Senior graduation honors such as valedictorian and salutatorian will be based on grades prior to March 16.
- Final class rankings will be closed at the end of the spring 2020 semester and will be based on the grades earned prior to March 16.
Prior to going on spring break, GISD had one remaining week of its third nine week grading period, GISD Chief Strategist for feedback and assessment Wes Vanicek said. Because of this, grading and student standing varied greatly which made the standardizing of grades across the board difficult. He added that it is even more difficult to standardized grades as students are learning in different home environments.
Vanicek said the district made the decision because it did not want to hold different home and learning environments against a child.
“Each one of these grading periods is a little bit like a race that kids can start and finish at the same time, [but] they don't start and finish in the same places. And they certainly aren’t afforded the same strategies along the way,” Vanicek said. “There are many kids that by counting those grades would certainly be a detriment.”
Vanicek said the district tried to identify the most appropriate path to move forward that was also fair.
“I believe a school system works to establish a lot of consistency where students from all different backgrounds and all different situations can come to come to a common place and experience school in a way that maybe they wouldn't be if it were at home,” Vanicek said. “We now know that our kids are placed in 12,000-plus different learning environments, most of which they don't have any control over.”
Educators are learning new ways to teach from home, as parents are also learning to teach from home. GISD Superintendent Fred Brent said he was proud of the district staff and parents who are working to continue to educate students in an unprecedented time.
“Teachers and staff in Georgetown ISD are working really hard to maintain as much educational normalcy for kids as possible,” Brent said. “They're really on the frontlines with our kids and with our parents [and] with our families and supporting them step by step."
For more information on the district's distance-learning grading policy click here.