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Letter to 9th Grade Parent/Guardians 11-14-14

posted Nov 14, 2014, 4:46 PM by Massabesic highschool
11-14-14 Letter
Memo
To: 9th Grade Parents & Guardians
From: Christian M. Elkington
Re: Grading update at MHS…

Date: 11-13-14
It was brought to my attention that how we grade at MHS, may not be clear to all of the parents &
guardians for the incoming Class of 2018. Upon review I should have taken into account that you
have been focused on Rubric Grading using a 1-4 scale, the last several years at MMS. My
apologies for not giving you more info on how we grade at MHS. As we head down the stretch of
our Fall Trimester, I need to take some time and space to share with you how we convert from the
1-4 rubric scale into the present 1-101 scale to determine your child’s overall course grade.

How do teachers determine a grade for an assessment?
MHS assessments are scored with a 4-point rubric supplied by teachers to students in advance.

Formative Assessments
The goal of formative assessments is to monitor student learning and to provide ongoing feedback
to students that will be used by our teachers to improve their teaching and by students to improve
their learning. A student who is unsuccessful on a formative assessment needs more (or different)
instruction before taking a summative assessment and/or redoing a summative assessment.

Summative Assessments
The goal of summative assessments is to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional
unit by comparing it against Learning Target benchmarks. Our expectation is that students will
continually work towards earning a 3 or higher on all summative assessments.

Converting 1-4 Rubric Grades
MHS still records grades on student transcripts (permanent grade record) using a 1 - 101 grading
scale. Improvements to our grading scale are in discussion and will be seeking parent – guardian
feedback shortly. Summative Assessments are used to determine each student’s proficiency on
District Learning Targets within each course. Our conversion scales is as follows:
4 = 101, 3.75 = 98, 3.5 = 96, 3.25 = 94, 3 = 92, 2.5 = 80, 2 = 67, 1.5 = 55, 1 = 40,
M (Missing) = 0, I (Incomplete)
(This scale was created four years ago because of our belief that scores 1-3 measure proficiency
while scores above 3 measures excellence and greater mastery.)

We use the following scale to convert numbers into letter grades, which most of us remember
from when we were in school:
A+ 97-101, A 94-96, A- 93, B+ 91-92, B 87-90, B- 85-86, C+ 83-84, C 78-82, C- 76-77, D+ 75,
D 72-74, D- 70-71, F 69 & below, I – Incomplete

What does a Weighted Grade mean?
Any course designated as Honors, Accelerated, Gifted/Talented, College, or Advanced Placement
will be given additional weight when a trimester is completed as follows:
*Honors/Accelerated = 1.05
Gifted/Talented = 1.05
College Course/Advanced Placement = 1.10
At many high schools, including our own, weighted grades are used for the following purposes:
- Establishing class rank, which is announced after the 11th trimester
- To determine extra-curricular and athletic eligibility
- To determine honors and high honors for honor roll designation
- To determine eligibility for National Honor Society
The end of Trimester report card will reflect weighted course grades.
*College Prep students may earn honors weight if they move ahead of teacher-pace and produce
evidence that demonstrates Honors expectations.

MHS Work Habits
MHS Teaching Staff measure a student’s progress in meeting the MHS Work Habits separately
from the course grade. MHS Work Habits are to be assessed on a weekly/bi-weekly basis, either
through an overall formative grade or through the formative assessments given that week. A
teacher’s assessment of work habits is shared with parents/guardians in Infinite Campus at this
time. Our hope is that it will become part of Empower for 15-16.

What does a Trimester grade mean?
A student’s trimester grade is a stand-alone content grade, based on level of proficiency in the
Learning Targets for that course. It is not averaged with another Trimester grade.
In closing I wanted to make it clear that MHS is not planning to end our use of Empower. Our
original plan was for our Grade 9 Core Teachers (English, Math, Science & Social Studies), to
use Empower for 2014-2015. That they would work through some of the bugs of the new
Empower Program and become experts for the rest of the MHS Staff to call on for our schoolwide
implementation for the 2015-2016 School Year. It is our hope that the company that has
built Educate and now Empower will be able to work through some of their difficulties and make
this plan a reality so that each of you can continue to have the kind of detail you expect.
This past Monday, MHS Administration and district consultants worked with our 12 Freshmen
Teachers to answer questions, to problem-solve additional concerns, increase teacher knowledge
& practice so as to make sure that all student assessment info is up to date in Empower. Most of
our teachers were fully up-to-date and so this allowed us to work more one-on-one with those
needing extra support.

Our plans moving forward with Empower:
- MHS Admin will be checking in with teachers every two weeks to make sure glitches and
problems are fixed quickly
- MHS Admin will be working with the company, which created Empower to help them create an
Empower Progress Report & Report Card for MHS. You will be receiving an Infinite Campus
Report Card in December. It is our expectation that the company will create these two documents
for us to use and troubleshoot before sending it home to you as follows:
- The Progress Report by Dec 18th
- The Report Card by Feb 11th
- Our plan is to continue to move towards having all of the teachers at MHS using Empower to
begin the 2015-2016 School Year.

Thanks for reading this note!
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