Austin ISD changes grading system amid pandemic 

In a Monday night board meeting, Austin ISD trustees passed a series of resolutions, one of them changing how grades are recorded this spring, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For all classes that began during the spring semester of the 2019-2020 school year, all students' grades will be recorded and reported as pass or incomplete. Transcripts will denote a course credit as pass or incomplete,” said Trustee Cindy Anderson, at-large position 8.

AISD says that incomplete records will not affect a student's ability to advance to the next grade or to graduate. Instead, the new grading policy will help identify students who need extra support in the summer or next school year. 

"Austin ISD is first focused on the whole child's physical and mental health amidst the separation from campus communities. AISD staff will continue to work with students and families to support needs as the district transitions into continuous learning," the district said in a press release. 

Grades from this semester will not be calculated into GPAs. 

RELATED: Austin ISD to remain closed "for an indefinite period of time," says superintendent

“That incomplete is not going to necessarily tell a student that they are retained. We will accelerate, move forward and take the students where they are. There will be some catch-up,” said Dr. Lisa Goodnow, associate superintendent of academics and SEL.

Also, senior class ranks will be based on last fall's grades. 

“By looking at grades that are already in the books, grades that are in the first semester, that's what we use for GPA, and for top 10 and for val and sal [sic]. We do need the second semester for students to have opportunities to do additional work to demonstrate proficiency,” said superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz.

RELATED: Fort Worth ISD moving to a pass or fail grading system

The measures are unusual and Trustee Ann Teich expressed concern if the district has vetted this new system.

“It would give me comfort as a parent to know there has been some conversation with staff and institutions of higher learning during this time of crisis,” she said.

RELATED: LIST: Central Texas schools, colleges, universities coronavirus resources

The district said several other institutions around the country are doing the same. In addition, trustees passed a resolution to keep paying employees while the pandemic carries on. Teacher evaluations this semester are also being waived.


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