Region 16 alters grading due to distance learning

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By Elio Gugliotti, Editor

PROSPECT — Middle and high school students in Region 16 will either pass or fail their fourth quarter classes.

The switch to the pass-fail system is part of grading changes the Region 16 Board of Education approved this month to adjust for distance learning. The changes come as schools across the state are closed until at least May 20, and possibly the rest of the school year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. School districts are providing lessons online now, instead of in classrooms.

Region 16 students in grades sixth through 12 who pass a class will get a 100 for the fourth marking period, while those who fail will receive a 55.

Woodland Regional High School students will still be graded on their assignments, according to a memo detailing the plan. Long River Middle School students have to make a “concerted effort” to do their work, be up to date on assignments and be in contact with teachers to earn a passing grade for the fourth marking period. Middle school students who make minimal or no effort to do their work or connect with teachers will fail.

Fourth marking period grades will count for less of students’ final grade in a class.

At the high school, the first and second marking periods will each count for 30% of the final grade, while midterms will count for 10%. The third and fourth marking periods will count for 20% and 10%, respectively.

For semester-long classes, which run during the third and fourth quarters at the high school, the third marking period will count for either 60% or 70% of the final grade. There won’t be any final exams.

At the middle school, the first and second quarters will each count for 32% of the final grade. The third and fourth marking periods will count for 26% and 10%, respectively.

The region won’t issue report cards for elementary students for the final marking period. Students will be evaluated based on completing work, showing improvement after getting feedback from teachers and participating in lessons.

Michele Raynor, director of curriculum, instruction and assessments for the region, said the grading procedure for distance learning is designed to not harm students.

“We believe that this policy will do that,” she said.

School officials in Naugatuck were working on a grading policy for borough students as of last week, said Caroline Gordon Messenger, director of curriculum for Naugatuck Public Schools. She said officials expected to present it the Board of Education after spring break, which ended on Monday.