Richardson ISD considers changing grading system to pass/fail amid emergency school closures

The board of trustees voted March 30 to give Superintendent Jeannie Stone the authority to approve contracts and sign waivers without board approval. (Courtesy Richardson ISD)
The board of trustees voted March 30 to give Superintendent Jeannie Stone the authority to approve contracts and sign waivers without board approval. (Courtesy Richardson ISD)

The board of trustees voted March 30 to give Superintendent Jeannie Stone the authority to approve contracts and sign waivers without board approval. (Courtesy Richardson ISD)

Students in Richardson ISD could be subject to a new grading and class rank system under the district’s emergency coronavirus procedures.

At its March 30 meeting, the RISD board discussed the possibility of using a pass/fail system for the semester. If a student has a 70 or above, they would pass the course, Deputy Superintendent Tabitha Branum said. Students would continue to receive feedback on assignments from teachers, she said.

Additionally, first-semester grades may be used to determine GPAs and class rankings for students in grades 9-12, Branum said. The exceptions to this are seniors in the top 10% of their class as well as the valedictorian and salutatorian, whose third-quarter grades will factor into their overall GPA.

Board members Justin Bono and Jean Bono shared concerns about students who may want their GPA to include third-quarter grades. Superintendent Jeannie Stone said the board could mull over that input and reconvene on the matter next week.

Also at the March 30 meeting, the board voted to apply for a waiver from the Texas Education Agency that would allow for more flexibility in the teacher evaluation process.


Certain components of the evaluations are not possible to complete during school closures, said Chris Goodson, assistant superintendent of human resources. These components include in-person observations and classroom walkthroughs.

RISD teachers will still be evaluated for their performance, but with the waiver in effect, the district will be able to adjust timelines and use data collected throughout the school year, Goodson said.

“This is [done] in the name of fairness for our staff members,” Stone said.

The board also voted unanimously to give Superintendent Stone the authority to make certain decisions without board approval, including applying for waivers, approving emergency contacts and revising policies and procedures during the emergency closures.

“I feel like this is a really smart step that we need to take to give [Stone] the autonomy to step into the leadership role that these times require,” trustee Kristin Kuhne said.