Virginia’s Fairfax County considers updated grading policy

Fairfax County schools administration is thinking about revamping middle and high school classes grading systems in efforts to help students who are struggling.

Steven Lockard, deputy superintendent, sent a message out to teachers in Fairfax County with proposals to change the ways teachers delegate grades and standardize exam scores countywide.

If the proposals are passed, that decision would impact the entire school system. The changes would affect the likelihood of students’ getting into college and changing the way teachers would handle tests and homework. At the present time, high schools in Fairfax have the flexibility to decide grading scales.

The goals of Lockard’s changes include creating consistency in how students are graded and giving the students who are falling behind in classes an opportunity to improve their scores. In some schools, an “F” equals a zero, but in some a 50 percent. Another difference in the county is that some students are allowed to retake tests for a better grade and some cannot.

I think a uniform grading policy will go a long way in Fairfax schools. Equity and consistency in grading is essential and better for all students, parents and teachers.

In addition, I think the grading changes have potential to improve students’ chances of getting accepted into college and will overall make things more transparent and fairer for students. We want to see more students getting into college and I think passing these proposals and clarifying expectations could make attending college a reality for some of the struggling students in Fairfax County.

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