Grading Policy

Grading & Assessment Policy

The intent of this policy is to provide congruence and consistency between and among departments and grade levels in the use of grading and assessment procedures. Since one of the fundamental roles of grades is to provide information to students and parents about student progress, we include their roles and responsibilities in this emerging policy, as well.

The staff at Lone Star Middle School believes…

1.      Assessment should be frequent and provide meaningful feedback.

§         Teachers will provide students with on-going and descriptive feedback on their learning to help them establish goals for improvement.

§         Learning expectations and criteria for assessment are communicated to students in advance.

§         Students are provided with opportunities to learn how to assess their own work and to set goals for improvement.

2.      Grades should reflect achievement of standards.

§         Teachers work collaboratively to determine achievement levels and to establish exemplars.

3.      Student behavior (Respect and Relationships) and engagement (Readiness and Responsibility) will be assessed separately from the academic grades based on the rubrics created by LSMS staff. A student’s behavior in the classroom and engagement in his/her learning is vital to intellectual and skill development. Work ethic and the ability to get along with others are life-long skills that transfer to every career path. Evaluations for behavior and engagement are taken very seriously.

4.      Cheating, Plagiarism, Academic Dishonesty are all clearly defined in the student handbook. At Lone Star Middle School students will not be given a zero for work that is determined to be fraudulent. They will be expected to re-do and complete the work honestly. Punishment for cheating will be handled as a behavior infraction; consequences will be determined depending on the severity of the academic dishonesty.

5.      Determination of grading levels for formal reporting purposes should primarily reflect student performance on summative tasks. Students’ grades will reflect their most consistent and recent level of achievement at the time of reporting.

§         Summative Assessments represent about 80% of a student’s grade. They may include tests, projects, writing tasks, reflections on simulations, or lab assessments.

§         Formative Assessments represent about 20% of a student’s grade. They may include homework, class activities and practice, rough drafts, lab activities, quizzes.

§         It is important to note that although formative assessments represent only 20% of the final student grade, they represent the essential activities and practices that stimulate the learning, and the primary investment of teacher and student time. Without the practice, the drill, the trials, the drafts – done in a low risk, supportive environment—the student would not be able to meet the challenges of summative assessments meant to gauge the students’ skills against standards. A sports metaphor is most apt; a student practices regularly under the guidance of a skilled coach in order to meet the challenge of the game in which one puts his skills on the line.

6.      Teachers avoid grading practices that distort the meaning of a grade by under or over inflation.

  • Extra credit is not allowed when it attempts to fill in missing scores with tasks unrelated to the work required by standards.
  • We discourage reducing the value of school work turned in late. All work should be scored against standards. Missing deadlines, however, is a bad habit that should be reported in the Behavior and Engagement grade. When students repeatedly turn in work late without reasonable explanations, they put themselves in jeopardy of quickly falling behind.

§         Progress reports (at mid quarter) serve as an important reminder of grade standing, progress and work completion.

§         About two weeks before the end of each quarter, the school posts Firm Deadlines, after which no more late or missing work may be turned in.

  • The use of zeros to mark missing work skews student grades dramatically downward. Instead of zeros, teachers are strongly encouraged to hold students accountable for completing the missing work and use other codes listed below to communicate a student’s status.

§         M indicates work is missing

§         I indicates the work is incomplete or not yet done to standards

  • When the teacher has no evidence of student learning because of significant missing work, the teacher will mark the course grade as “I” and with no credit value (0%). The purpose of the mark to alert both parent and student that the student is in jeopardy of failing the class.

7.      Making the change from assigning points to marking proficiency level is recommended practice. Examples of a rubric defining proficiency levels and conversion charts for changing scale scores to percents can be found in the addendum to this policy.

8.      Departments may have more specific assessment policies and will summarize those in letters to parents at the beginning of the school year. All teachers will send a statement of assessment and grading policy to parents at the beginning of the year.


Lone Star Middle School places an unrelenting emphasis on student responsibility for learning. To that end we expect

§      All work must be done on time.

§      All work should meet standards.

§      Students should know and plan for firm deadlines nearing the end of marking periods.

§      Students should use formative assessments to identify strengths and weaknesses and, when needed, seek extra help.

§      Capable students who intentionally do not complete course work should expect immediate and natural consequences in the form of after school and/or lunch time detentions, and phone calls home.



§      May confer with a teacher about student progress any time during the year

§      Have online access to student progress every day of the week, 24 hours a day through PowerSchool

§      Should understand that the Power School “gradebook” is a record keeping device that intends to report progress toward achievement of standards, and as such, changes frequently as indicators of growth are evaluated. No reporting devices, however, can replace the power and effect of communications between teachers, students and parents.

§      Should advise their students to seek extra help when formative assessment indicates the student is struggling

§      Will receive formal progress indicators eight times a year: progress reports at each mid-quarter and quarter grades every nine weeks.

§      Progress reports are formative in nature and provide feedback to students and parents about strengths and weaknesses.

§      Report cards are summative in nature and capture a picture of achievement of standards after nine weeks of instruction.

Definition of key terms:

§      Assessment: the process of gathering information on student learning from a variety of sources to understand how well students are achieving standards. Assessment has two main components: assessment of learning (summative), assessment for learning (formative)

§      Formative assessment: the process of gathering information during the learning process. It involves constructive and specific feedback to students aimed to improve learning. Formative assessments may include homework, class activity and practice, rough drafts, lab activities, quizzes.

§      Summative assessment: is assessment of learning. It is designed to allow students to demonstrate achievement on standards. Far fewer summative assessments are given than formative assessments, but summative assessments bear the burden of showing student achievement on standards. Summative assessments may include tests, projects, writing tasks, reflections on simulations, or lab assessments.

§      Evaluation: the process of judging the quality of student work based on identified criteria and assigning value to represent the level of achievement attained

§      Diagnostic assessment: the process of gathering evidence of student learning prior to commencing instruction. This information is useful in planning instruction and in particular for individualizing program delivery. It is not used to determine student achievement levels.

Addendum: Resources for Using Proficiency Scoring

Scoring Scale (Marzano)

This scale helps to distinguish between higher and lower level cognitive activities.


Description of Place on Scale



In addition to Score 3.0 performance, in-depth inferences and applications that go beyond what was taught.


In addition to Score 3.0 performance, partial success at inferences and applications that go beyond what was taught



No major errors or omissions regarding any of the information and/or processes (simple or complex) that were explicitly taught.


No major errors or omissions regarding the simpler details and process and partial knowledge of the more complex ideas and processes



No major errors or omissions regarding the simpler details and processes, but major errors or omissions regarding the more complex ideas and processes.


Partial knowledge of the simple details and processes but major errors or omissions regarding the more complex ideas and procedures.



With help, a partial understanding of some of the simpler details and processes and some of the more complex ideas and processes.


With help, a partial understanding of some of the simpler details and processes but not the more complex ideas and processes



 Even with help, no understanding or skill demonstrated

Conversion of scale score to percentage



Scale Score

% on 10 point task




Scale Score

% on 25 point task






















Below Basic




Below Basic



Missing or Incomplete

M or I



Missing or Incomplete

M or I



Grading & Assessment Resources

Ahead of the Curve – Douglas Reeves Editor

Fair Isn’t Always Equal – Rick Warmeli

Classroom Assessment and Grading That Work – Robert J. Marzano

A Repair Kit for Grading – Ken O’Conner