As of April 26, New York City’s 1.1 million students will start to receive grades under a new grading system. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the implementation of this new grading system through the end of the 2019-220 school year for elementary, middle, and high school students.
The specific grading protocols vary by age, but all share the determination that no students will receive failing grades. Overall, Major de Blasio aims to give students as much flexibility as possible to complete their course work.
‘The goal here is not to fail students…. The goal is to have students master the subject matter. That’s always been the goal. So if some students need more time, this is a perfect opportunity to actually create that system where students get that time,” explained Schools cHancellor Richard Carranza.
According to Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers, “We needed a grading policy that captures the work students have done this year, both in the classroom and during distance learning, while not punishing students for things outside of their control. We think this policy strikes that balance.”
All elementary school students, kindergarten through 5th grade, will be graded either “meets standards” or “needs improvement”. These two categories are designed to demonstrate mastery of learning outcomes or the need for additional instructional support.
Students in grades 6, 7, and 8 will be graded using three values: “meets standards”, “needs improvement”, and “course in progress”. The “course in progress” label will be used if teachers need more information to determine whether a student has sufficiently mastered a class, and those students will receive remedial help over the summer and fall.
The new high school grading system is most complex. Students will still receive letter grades, but they have until early next school year to complete courses to their teachers’ satisfaction. High school students can also switch to a pass/fail mark for the final semester, if they wish. Pass/fail designations won’t impact GPA scores.
According to the official website of New York City, “High school seniors and current 8th graders who receive “Course in Progress” will be prioritized for support to keep them on track for August graduation and promotion. When students complete the course, their grade will be changed from “Course in Progress” to the appropriate passing grade.”
Supporting Student Success
In an effort to keep all NYC students connected to their teachers and remote learning platforms, the NYC Department of Education is providing 247,000 internet-enabled iPads to students in need.
With so many unique changes to the 2019-2020 academic year, Mayor de Blasio put it blatantly: “Next year is going to have to be the greatest school year in New York City history. I want to set the bar that high right now.”