Eanes ISD updates grading guidelines for the remaining 2019-20 school year; final exams will not be administered

Eanes ISD updated its grading guidelines in line with Board policies April 7. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Eanes ISD updated its grading guidelines in line with Board policies April 7. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Eanes ISD updated its grading guidelines in line with Board policies April 7. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Eanes ISD announced updated grading guidelines April 7 as students continue studying through the newly developed remote learning platform.

In an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, all district facilities remain closed until further notice, according to a statement from Superintendent Tom Leonard on the district’s website.

The guidelines were developed by a team of counselors, curriculum staff, principals and special education staff. According to the district, these guidelines are in line with the board of trustees’ policy and therefore will not require board approval.

While a pass-or-fail system was considered by district officials, the overall consensus was to average the third and fourth nine-week grades. According to EISD, this will give students the opportunity to raise their overall grade point average.

Another consideration pointed to the NCAA Clearinghouse rules, which consider a ‘Pass’ as the lowest possible passing grade [a 70%],” EISD stated, adding this could put students who wish to compete in college athletics at serious disadvantage.

The guidelines have been separated into two categories at the elementary and secondary school levels.

Students kindergarten through second grade will receive progress remarks but will not receive formal grades. Third-grade students will receive one grade per week in math and in English language arts, or ELA. Students at the fourth-grade level will earn a weekly grade in either math or science as well as one weekly grade in ELA or social studies. Fifth-grade students will earn one weekly grade in math, one in science, and one in ELA or social studies.

The guidelines state during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, EISD will adopt a new “hold-harness” grading policy, meaning a student’s fourth nine-week grades may not be lower than the third nine-week grades.

Students completed the third nine-week quarter March 6 prior to beginning remote learning March 26.

The grading system in the secondary school system will differ, with students earning one grade in each class weekly. According to district information, class grades will be averaged to arrive at the fourth nine-week grades. The third and fourth nine-week grades will arrive at a semester average.

The guidelines also state that final exams will not be held this spring.

Westlake High School’s 2020 class rank has already been determined. Board policy states that the class rank is set at the end of the third quarter, which passed on March 6. The valedictorian and salutatorian have been determined along with the top 10 percent.

Linda Rawlings, interim associate superintendent for curriculum, noted the team was very thoughtful in constructing these guidelines.

“We know COVID-19 continues to disrupt the lives of our Eanes ISD families, and we want to ensure we are making decisions which support overall wellness and do not add to this stress,” Rawlings said.

By Amy Rae Dadamo
Amy Rae Dadamo is the reporter for Lake Travis-Westlake, where her work focuses on city government and education. Originally from New Jersey, Amy Rae relocated to Austin after graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey in May 2019.