CHICAGO (CBS) — With Chicago Public Schools closed and students learning remotely for the rest of the school year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the district on Thursday announced policies on grading and promotion.
CPS said in a letter to parents that it is recommending the Board of Education modify its grade promotion policy so that all elementary school students advance to the next grade level in the fall.
E-learning work will be graded to allow students to improve or maintain their grades from the third quarter when school was still open, but no students will receive a fourth-quarter grade that is lower than their third-quarter grade, CPS said.
For elementary school students, only those who perform better in the fourth quarter than the third will receive a letter grade, CPS said. Those who participate in digital instruction but perform more poorly than they did in the third quarter, or who cannot access digital instruction but completed printed work packets, will receive a grade of “pass” that will not impact their grade point average, CPS said.
Elementary students who do not have access to digital instruction but did not complete their work packets or engage with their teachers, or who did have access to digital instruction and earned an F in the fourth quarter, will receive a grade of “incomplete.” Their GPAs will not be impacted, but the students will be prioritized for summer school if it can be held this year.
The same policies apply to high school students, except that the timeline will be based on semesters.
The district is also recommending that the board waive non-credit-bearing graduation requirements for high school seniors, including Service Learning, State-mandated Assessment, the Constitution Test, Financial Literacy, and Computer Science.
Full details on grading, promotion, and graduation requirements is available at CPS’ grading guidance for parents.
Meanwhile, CPS has also developed a protocol to track student engagement – including regular check-ins with teachers for students who need more guidance. But families are asked to work with their schools to create a routine that keeps children engaged.
Teachers will post grades with the same frequency as usual.
“While this is not the fourth quarter we envisioned for you, the school year is not over. Teachers will continue to teach. Students will continue to learn,” CPS said. “The important work of education will not stop.”
As to the class of 2020, CPS expressed disappointment that they will not be able to celebrate prom and graduation.
“We remain hopeful that should the governor lift the stay-at-home order and public health officials deem it appropriate to gather in large groups this summer, school communities will find a way to celebrate your achievements,” CPS said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday announced plans for a citywide virtual commencement ceremony for all Chicago high school seniors – from CPS, charter, private, and parochial schools. Oprah Winfrey will deliver the commencement address.