Idaho Falls gives high schoolers say in how they’re graded

The Idaho Falls School District will allow some of its high schoolers to have letter grades appear on their transcripts after parents complained about a revised grading model.

Trustees voted Wednesday to inject flexibility into a simplified grading system the board adopted in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a post on the district’s website. That previous model provided high schoolers with “Pass” or “Incomplete” marks based on their performance on common end-of-course assessments.

Idaho Falls Superintendent George Boland

Now, high schoolers may either stick with that model or request letter grades after completion of the following:

  • dual- or concurrent-enrollment classes;
  • classes taken through the Idaho Digital Learning Alliance;
  • advanced placement classes, based on national AP Exam scores.

Wednesday’s change follows a petition that garnered nearly 300 signatures from parents and students pushing for choice in how high schoolers are graded.

Petitioners acknowledged the simplified model’s attempt at fairness amid the pandemic, but argued that removing letter grades impacted securement of college scholarships and admittance into competitive higher education institutions.

“Do you want your student being compared to another that has letter grades when yours only has a ‘P’?” the petition reads.

On Wednesday, trustees also discussed establishing an appeals process for students to request grades from other classes. A committee of teachers, administrators and parents will meet this week to establish the process, and “criteria that could be used to determine grades where assignments were not graded during the school closure.”

More information on these changes will be available in the coming days, the district announced.

More reading: Schools across Idaho revamped their grading procedures amid the pandemic, with many adopting some form of a pass-fail model.

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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