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Parent/Guardian’s Guide to Grading and Graduation During COVID-19 (Updated 5/12/20)


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After reviewing guidance from the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction, here is how Durham Public Schools is handling grading and graduation for the 2019-20 school year.

DPS will issue final course grades based on learning as of March 13. Participation in remote learning opportunities can only improve both students’ academic learning and reported grades. 

We received significant input from principals, teachers, Durham Association of Educators representatives, and other stakeholders. We were guided by our district’s core beliefs in equity, shared responsibility, high expectations, and a child-centered approach.

Knowing that there is a digital divide that we cannot immediately remedy, even with our efforts to distribute printed instructional material, no student’s grades will be negatively affected by performance during remote learning. Our teachers will work with your student to provide appropriate instruction and formative feedback.

Graduating Seniors/Class of 2020

  • DPS’s graduation requirements have been waived. All DPS seniors will be evaluated based on the state’s 22-credit minimum graduation requirements.
  • Final GPAs will be based on the final fall grades in year-long and fall semester-length courses.
  • Students on the Occupational Course of Study will complete a minimum of 157 paid work hours rather than 225.
  • For first-semester courses or the first half of year-long courses, students will receive a numeric grade. For second-semester courses or the second half of a year-long course, students will either receive a passing grade or a withdrawal due to COVID-19.
  • Students at risk of failing a course required for graduation or college/university admissions will be given multiple opportunities to improve their grade including for example:
    • retaking exams
    • additional coursework
    • portfolios
    • projects
  • College coursework will receive the actual grade on students’ college transcript, but a pass/withdraw grade on the high school

Grading for grades 9-11 is determined using the following default standards (unless families choose a different option)

  • Numerical Grades (70-100) = the actual numeric grade on the transcript
  • Numerical Grades (60-70) = PC-19 (passing with no GPA impact)
  • Numerical Grades (59-below) = WC19 (requiring credit recovery or retaking the entire course)
  • These default standards apply to middle school students currently taking high school courses.

Grading for grades 6-8 is determined using the following default standards (unless families choose a different option):

  • Students will receive a PC-19 (passing) or WC19 (withdrawal) for the Final Grade for all middle school courses.
  • The final grade is determined by Quarter 3 grades and opportunities to improve through remote learning the remainder of the school year.

Grading for grades K-5 is determined using the following default standards:

  • Students will receive no final grade.
  • Teachers will provide year-end feedback in PowerSchool Parent Portal.
  • Teachers will document academic and social/emotional strengths and needs to ensure an effective transition from 2020 remote learning to the 2020-21 school year.