The Stephenville ISD Board of Trustees met for a called meeting Monday afternoon and made some changes to the grading policy.
The board agreed on a COVID temporary policy for the 6th six weeks where there would be six daily grades (as opposed to eight) with one grade per day and one summative assignment (as opposed to two).
The council spent some time deliberating on whether to count GPA from the 5th six weeks since instruction was all online or to replace students' 5th six weeks GPA with their 4th six weeks GPA.
Superintendent Matt Underwood told the council that from surveys conducted from the teaching staff and student council, there was a 60/40 split.
“Faculty, six out of 10 believes that it would be more valid to count 4th six weeks and not the 5th six weeks,” he told the council. “Students, however, would rather count the 5th six weeks, rather than not count the 5th six weeks.
“I've been thinking about this for a long time. I don't have a problem with counting the 5th six weeks if the GPA is better. I don't want the 5th six weeks to harm you if you didn't have internet accessibility, if you weren't around your calculus tutor and weren't able to get those small groups that we have with counseling. Some of those upper level classes, their grades dramatically declined – in some cases 10 percent.”
Underwood suggested for administration to look at each student's GPA for both the 4th and 5th six weeks and then choose the higher GPA.
“To me, I don't think there's any right answer,” he said. “I do think at the end of the 4th six weeks, that grade is more valid, however, I think there is something to be said for students who have worked hard in this 5th six weeks, completed their assignments and turned them in.”
President of the board Dr. Ann Calahan voiced her concern about students having access to materials and their teachers while council member Cole Parks, place 6, argued that it isn't fair to students for the board to change grading policy after the end of the six weeks period.
“The only way to keep it fair and equal is if we give a set of rules for the 5th six weeks and every kid went by the same set of rules,” he said. “I'm all for changing the 6th six weeks. You lay the rules out there and you do what we can, but the 5th six weeks, we gave a set of rules, we need to play by the rules and not change them after the fact.”
Vice President Dr. Ed Dittfurth said Underwood's solution wasn't perfect but that there is no perfect solution.
“This is the best scenario that I can see,” he said. “It's not perfect, but I would support what the administration has presented to us.”
Sherrie Evans, place 2, agreed with Dittfurth and said she feels Underwood's suggestion is the best solution under the circumstances.
“At the end of the day, it is our responsibility to do what is best for all students,” she said. “I hope it tells our students and our parents that we care about all of our students. We had to make the decision of what we feel like is best for all students and I feel like this does approach that.”
All of the members except Parks and Keri Vanden Berge voted for Underwood's solution of determining students' GPA based upon the higher average between the 4th and 5th six weeks.
Grading for the rest of the year will be based on a pass/fall scale and final exams will not be given.