As of Monday, March 23, 2020, Spring Branch ISD (SBISD) suspended normal operations due to the Covid-19 global pandemic and extended the district closure through at least May 1, 2020. On Friday, April 17, following Governor Abbott’s Executive Order, SBISD extended the district closure through the end of the planned 2019-2020 school year.
In alignment with guidance from the Texas Education Agency affording each local school district the authority to adjust grading guidelines to best meet the needs of the district and its students, on April 7, 2020, Superintendent Blaine announced Adjusted Grading Guidelines (Guidelines), effective April 14, 2020.
SBISD’s Adjusted Grading Guidelines were developed with thoughtful and thorough input from principals, district leaders, teachers, and counselors and are undergirded by SBISD’s commitment to academic integrity and our core value, Every Child.
SBISD acknowledges and appreciates parents who have reached out to express their viewpoints and perceptions about the Adjusted Grading Guidelines. The district has considered all suggestions and has spent significant time re-examining our Guidelines with those comments in mind. We also reviewed the guidelines issued by other area districts.
Key factors for consideration include the following:
- There is not a standard, statewide, required Grade Point Average (GPA) calculation. Districts across our region and state utilize different formulas to calculate GPA.
- SBISD transcripts show semester grades only and must accurately reflect what students have learned and accomplished towards mastery of the content of their coursework.
- The grading periods in the Spring 2020 semester cannot be equally weighted to develop a semester grade, as the fourth nine week assignments do not include major tests or projects, and all assignments are open book/open notes. In other words, during this time of learning from home, the fourth nine weeks is not a standard grading period. Only counting the third nine weeks for a student’s semester grade would not be an accurate or appropriate reflection of their mastery of the entire semester’s course content.
- Grades are being recorded for student work in the fourth nine weeks and will be considered to determine whether a student met or did not meet standards for transcript purposes.
- NCAA guidance affirms that students’ NCAA eligibility will not be negatively impacted by our Adjusted Grading Guidelines. For NCAA-approved core courses completed in Spring/Summer 2020 that have been issued a grade of “Pass,” (SBISD is using the term Met Standard), the Eligibility Center will apply the credit earned in these courses toward the core-course requirement in the student's certification. This will apply to students from all grade levels who successfully complete NCAA-approved Pass/Fail courses in Spring/Summer 2020.
- SBISD is guided by a strong Moral Compass, a key SBISD core value. Some parents have suggested that we arbitrarily assign a grade of 100 for any child that earns a “meets standard” and a 69 for any child that does not meet standard. Doing so requires principals to certify a false representation of grades on a student’s official transcript, and forces teachers to arbitrarily assign grades. This goes against the law and our sense of integrity. Texas law dictates that a teacher’s issued grade is final and may not be changed absent specific circumstances (e.g. if the teacher issued an arbitrary grade). This means that the district cannot manipulate the grades teachers duly assign to their students.
After careful review of all factors, SBISD stands firm in our conviction that the Adjusted Grading Guidelines are the most appropriate guidelines to serve the best interests of all children across our entire district. Thus, our Adjusted Grading Guidelines, as announced, will remain standing.
For additional points of information, families may refer to
- Grading guidelines