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High School Grading

Grading (or assessment) is an important part of all teaching and learning. It’s designed to help students answer the following questions:

  • Do I know what my teacher thinks is most important?
  • Am I mastering the course content?
  • How can I improve the way I study in this course?
  • What grade am I earning in this course?

How Students Are Graded

Our teachers use a combination of formative and summative assessments. Here’s what those terms mean:

  • Formative assessments are assignments that allow students to practice skills and inform the student and teacher of progress on skill mastery. They’re designed to assess and provide feedback on students’ strengths and weaknesses with the goal of improving future performance. An easy way to remember this is that a FORmative assessment is FOR learning. Examples include homework, classroom activities and quizzes.
  • Summative assessments are assignments or tasks that assess students’ mastery of skills within a unit. They are used primarily to make decisions for grading or to determine students’ readiness for progression. An easy way to remember this is that SUMmative assessments SUMmarize what students have learned. Stated another way, it is an assessment OF learning. Examples include written, oral or performance-based tests, papers, projects and presentations.

When looking at grades in the Parent or Student Portal, you may see some grades broken down into process and product. Generally, “process” relates to formative assessment and “product” to summative (although some processes can be summative and some products formative). Other teachers will use grading categories such as “Classwork,” “Homework” and “Projects, Tests and Quizzes.” Regardless of how students’ work is categorized, teachers have discretion in how they weight each category. So, for example, a social studies class in which discussion and participation are key might weight class participation more heavily than, say, a math class would.

Grading Scale

The grading scale is as follows:

Grade Minimum Percent Unweighted Weighted
A 92.5 4.00 5.20
A- 89.5 3.67 4.77
B+ 86.5 3.33 4.33
B 82.5 3.00 3.90
B- 79.5 2.67 3.47
C+ 76.5 2.33 3.00
C 72.5 2.00 2.60
C- 69.5 1.67 2.17
D 59.5 1.00 1.30
F 0.00 0.00 0.00


GPA/Class Rank

A student’s grade point average (GPA) and class rank are often the best predictors of academic success in college. Grades earned in all four years are used in determining the GPA. GPA is computed at the end of each semester using only semester grades. Class rank is based on the cumulative GPA.

The student’s GPA is calculated by multiplying the number of semester credit hours of each of the student’s courses (usually 5 hours per course) by the point value for the grade earned in each course. Sums are added together, then divided by the total semester hours. The result is the GPA.

Weighted/Unweighted Grades

High school students at DCIS receive both a weighted and an unweighted GPA. An unweighted GPA is just the average of a student’s grades, calculated as noted above. A weighted GPA is calculated by awarding additional points to classes that are considered more challenging than the basic curriculum. Advanced Placement (AP), honors, concurrent enrollment and other types of college preparatory classes are given bonus weight when a student’s GPA is calculated. Colleges, however, may recalculate a student’s GPA differently in order to equitably compare students coming from schools with different types of GPAs.

Posting of Grades

Teachers are required to update Infinite Campus (the districtwide records system) with at least one new grade per student every two weeks. Teachers must enter at least two summative assessment grades and six formative assessment grades per nine-week grading period. Teachers have up to two weeks from the date an assignment is turned in to post the grade for that assignment and up to three weeks to post grades for extended writing assignments.

Late and Missing Work

One of the skills students need to master is meeting deadlines. So we expect them to turn in all class assignments, homework, projects and assessments when they’re due. Teachers have different policies regarding late and missing work, which they typically communicate to students and parents at the beginning of the school year. Those who have websites will often post their classroom expectations there as well.

Students are responsible for meeting promptly with their teachers about missing coursework and, if the teacher accepts late work, coming up with a plan for getting it in. If a teacher accepts late coursework, all missing coursework will show on Infinite Campus as a zero or M until the student submits the work according to the plan with the teacher. If the student doesn’t follow through with the plan, the grade for that missing work will permanently be zero.