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With schools closed, Knox Co. releases new grading & graduation procedures

Since students won't be heading back to class this school year, KCS has revealed how grading & credit will be handled

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — Knox Co. Schools has sent revised grading plans out to parents after Gov. Bill Lee recommended that school be closed for the rest of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Director of Schools Bob Thomas said the decisions were made based on policies and guidance from the state Board of Education.

"We understand that many questions remain, and we will be sharing more information with you as we develop a process to close out the school year," Thomas said in the letter.

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"While we miss seeing all our students and staff, we are still here for you. We hope you are taking care of yourselves and staying positive about the future. We will get through this together."

Grades K-8

K-8th grade teachers will complete grading work assigned prior to March 12, 2020 (the final day

KCS was in session prior to the governor’s recommendation to close schools) and finalize thirdquarter grades by April 22, 2020.

● Third-quarter grades will be made available to families on April 24, 2020.

● Third-quarter grades will be averaged with first-semester grades to determine a student’s final grades. Grades resulting in a “U” or “F” will convert to an “I” for incomplete.

● If a student is assigned an “I”, that grade can be adjusted after schools re-open. Families may opt to contact their school’s principal to create a plan for submitting work to improve a student’s failing grade before Oct. 9, 2020 (end of the first nine-week grading period). After Oct. 9, no changes will be made to the grade.

● High school credit-bearing courses taught in middle school will follow the underclassman procedure.

● The extended school closure due to COVID-19 will not be cause for a student to be retained this year. Decisions of retention will be based on academic performance and conversation that took place prior to the extended closure.

Grades 9-11

No student will receive a final grade that is lower than the grade they had on March 20, 2020. 

• Students can earn the additional weighting (additional points added to final grade) for AP, IB, statewide Dual Enrollment, CLEP, and Industry Certifications without the requirement to sit for the culminating exams. This applies only to courses with exams given at the end of the Spring 2020 semester. (Students completing honors courses will receive their additional percentage points.)

• Grades 9-11 teachers will complete grading work assigned prior to March 12, 2020 (the final day KCS was in session prior to the governor’s recommendation to close schools) and finalize third-quarter grades by April 22, 2020. 

• Teachers will record third-quarter grades as numeric grades in Aspen. Third-quarter grades will be made available to families on April 24, 2020. Spring final grades 

• Between Friday, April 24 and Wednesday, April 29, parents and students will review third-quarter grades and choose from one of the following options in Aspen: 

a) Accept their current third-quarter grade as their final grade for the Spring 2020 semester. In this case, a student will not complete educational review materials in order to improve their final grade.

b) Acknowledging their grade cannot drop below the grade they had on March 20, 2020, students can complete review educational resources. These resources can be submitted to their teacher between Friday, May 1, 2020 and Monday, May 18, 2020, in an attempt to increase their third-quarter grade. 

Teachers will post all final Spring 2020 grades by May 21, 2020. To ensure the health and safety of teachers and students, all resources must be submitted digitally through Aspen, Canvas, or email. Teachers will communicate their method for student submission. 

• Individual classroom teachers will collect student choices (A or B) through an assignment in Aspen. Teachers will reach out and document in Aspen at least (3) attempts to contact students or families that have not responded and chosen their grading option by May 1, 2020. 

• If students choose Option B but experience an extenuating circumstance that prevents them from completing and submitting the educational resources before the May 18, 2020 deadline, teachers will default to using the student’s third-quarter grade. These students will have a two-week window from August 10-24 to complete a grade appeal form and submit it to their principal for review

• If the appeal is approved, the principal will arrange for the student to work with the teacher of record to complete and submit educational resources by Oct. 9, 2020 (end of the first nine-week grading period). At that time, the teacher of record can submit a grade change to reflect what they deem appropriate for a final grade. 

Additional Guidance 

• All Spring 2020 final grades will be included in a student’s grade point average (GPA) calculation. 

• Dual Enrollment courses are still graded through the method determined by the credit-granting institution regardless of whether the instructor is a Knox County teacher or not. These classes and grades fall outside of the grading process for all other courses. If a student wishes to drop or take an incomplete, they should contact their school principal. 

Seniors

● Seniors in the class of 2020 can graduate with 20 credits: math (4), English (4), Science (3), Social Studies (2), plus 7 elective credits. All other graduation credit requirements are suspended.

● All testing requirements for graduation are waived, including taking and / or passing a Civics exam or taking the ACT / SAT. In addition, EOCs including TNReady cannot be used in Spring 2020 grade calculations.

● Seniors cannot receive a final grade that is lower than the grade they had on March 20, 2020.

● Students can earn the additional weighting (additional points added to the final grade) for AP, IB, statewide Dual Enrollment, CLEP, and Industry Certifications without the requirement to sit for the culminating exams. This applies only to courses with exams given at the end of the Spring 2020 semester.

● Teachers will record third-quarter grades in Aspen. Seniors’ third-quarter numeric grades will be made available to families by April 24, 2020.

Spring final grades

● Between Friday, April 24 and Wednesday, April 29, parents and students will review thirdquarter grades and choose from one of the following options in Aspen:

a) Accept their current third-quarter grade as their final grade for the Spring 2020 semester. In this case, a student will not complete educational review materials in order to improve their final grade.

b) Acknowledging their grade cannot drop below the grade they had on March 20, 2020, students can complete review educational resources. These resources can be submitted to their teacher between Friday, May 1, 2020 and Monday, May 18, 2020, in an attempt to increase their third-quarter grade. To ensure the health and safety of teachers and students, all resources must be submitted digitally through Canvas, Aspen, or through email. Teachers will communicate their method for student submission.

● Individual classroom teachers will collect student choices (A or B) through an assignment in Aspen. Teachers will reach out and document in Aspen at least (3) attempts to contact students or families that have not responded and chosen their grading option by May 1, 2020. Teachers will default to use a senior’s third-quarter grade in cases where families do not respond.

● Teachers will post all Spring 2020 final grades by May 21, 2020.

Seniors with a failing third-quarter grade

For seniors who are failing based on their third-quarter grade, principals can choose one of two options:

a) Remove the student from their current teacher’s classroom and enroll them in Edgenuity* to recover the course; or

b) Leave the student in their current teacher’s course, with that teacher supporting them as they work toward graduation.

Additional Guidance:

● All Spring 2020 final grades will be included in a senior’s grade point average (GPA) calculation.

● All IEP and 504 modifications and accommodations must be honored to the extent possible for seniors opting to improve their grades.

● Dual Enrollment courses are still graded through the method determined by the credit-granting institution regardless of whether the instructor is a Knox County teacher or not. These classes and grades fall outside of the grading process for all other courses. If a student wishes to drop or take an incomplete, they should contact their school principal.

● Seniors who are in the Night Alternative Program will get support through their base school and will work through Edgenuity.

● KCS will reactivate Edgenuity for seniors enrolled in Recovery Credit for graduation.

● Principals have the discretion to enroll seniors in fourth-quarter courses they missed due to the extended closure (Personal Finance, Economics, Psychology, and Sociology) for new credits through Edgenuity. 

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