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AACPS 4th Marking Period Grading Policy Change Needed

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On April 15th the Board of Education Of Anne Arundel County did not approve Dr. Arlotto's recommendation to change to a Pass Fail (Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory) grading policy for the 2nd semester of the 2019-2020 school year.  According to Dr. Arlotto students GPA would be their GPA at the end of the first semester.  The board members engaged in a discussion about equity concerns.  Some felt students should be able to choose a letter grade or the Pass Fail since many worked hard to improve their GPA.  The discussion then turned to the possible inequities choice could cause the students in the AACPS school system as well as the AACPS grading system not having the ability to use a combination of both Pass Fail and letter grades.  There are many students in Anne Arundel County struggling to access online assignments due to circumstances beyond their control.  Some do not have devices, internet, are in homes that are not stable and supportive, they maybe caring for younger siblings because adults in the home need to work or are unable to care for everyone in the home.  Many of our students are in survival mode.

A reasonable and most equitable solution that would do the least harm students is:

1.  Make Pass Fail for the 4th marking period only and not the entire 2nd semester. 

2.  Pass would be equal to an A (or equivalent weight for Honors and AP) and 60 % of assigned work done would qualify for a pass.  This would be for only the 4th marking period.  Students attempting work done during the pandemic should be acknowledged.  These are unique time which calls for out of the box solutions.

3.  If a student receives an incomplete for fourth marking period grades, they should be given the opportunity to turn that into a passing grade. Students would have until mid-September to complete the 60% amount of work to receive a passing grade. 

Howard County Maryland recently adopted a similar grading policy stating "“We set out to develop recommendations that did not penalize students for this outbreak.”  The Baltimore Sun published an article about the changes Howard County Board of Ed approved (April 17th).

Anne Arundel County students deserve a policy that acknowledges their efforts and does not penalize them for circumstances beyond their control. They deserve a policy that causes the least harm to the future of their educational career choices.



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