Shelton schools proposing two options for student grading

Photo of Brian Gioiele
The Board of Education's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting last week.

The Board of Education's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting last week.

Brian Gioiele / Hearst Connecticut Media

School administrators are proposing that students in grades 5 through 12 continue to receive letter grades for final quarter work, but an alternate grading plan will be made available if necessary.

Interim schools Superintendent Beth Smith, in a draft proposal sent to parents Friday, said fifth- through 12th-graders will earn traditional grades A through D for the fourth quarter, and distance learning incompletes for those in the failing range.

Smith said parents may choose to opt their child into the Shelton Public Schools Distance Learning Alternate Grading Plan for the COVID-19 Health Crisis, which will simply list participants’ final grade as distance learning pass or distance learning incomplete. A comment on report cards in grades 5 to 12 will state “Quarter 4 reflects performance under the Shelton Public Schools Distance Learning Plan.”

For the third trimester, elementary schools will grade as normal, using progress codes on report cards. A comment on all elementary school report cards will state “Trimester 3 reflects performance under the Shelton Public Schools Distance Learning Plan.”

The grading proposal was discussed at the Board of Education’s Teaching and Learning Committee last week but has yet to be approved by the full board. The Board of Education will debate this topic Thursday, April 30, at its remote meeting at 7 p.m. To view, visit

“Most feedback to date is very positive,” said Smith. “Parents of students in grades 5 through 12 are appreciative that their children can continue to earn letter grades.”

“Many students are working hard and deserve to earn the grade they have achieved,” states the draft proposal. “Not all students attend college in-state. Those attending out-of-state should not be penalized with pass/fail grades during the post-secondary acceptance process.”

Student athletes should not have to worry about whether pass/fail would affect them in college athletic opportunities and continuing to offer numeric and letter grades will assist with student engagement, the proposal states.

“This plan would allow final grades to be calculated under both options and allow anyone with Distance Learning Incomplete with the opportunity to complete their work to raise their final grade,” states the draft plan.

Parents of students who would choose the alternate grading option must complete the alternative grading plan sign-off sheet.

Students opting into the alternative grading plan will receive distance learning pass — a numeric quarter four average of 65 with a GPA value of 1 — or distance learning incomplete.

Students who earn the incomplete designation will receive the numeric quarter four average of 50 with a GPA value .5 and would have until the last day of the first quarter in the 2020-21 school year to make up the work to receive a passing designation.

Smith said feedback on end-of-year grading was received from Assistant Superintendent Ken Saranich, the district’s Office of Teaching and Learning, the director of technology, all principals, curriculum leaders and parents through a survey.

In making the decision, Smith said, information was also gathered from CES, the Southern Fairfield County Superintendents Association and Southern Connecticut Conference of school administrators. There was also guidance provided by the state Department of Education, the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.