What's Required

State law outlines the requirements for a school district grading policy in Texas Education Code (TEC) § 28.0216. 

It states a district’s grading policy:

1. Must require a classroom teacher to assign a grade that reflects the student’s relative mastery of an assignment;
2. May not require a classroom teacher to assign a minimum grade for an assignment without regard to the student’s quality of work; and
3. May allow a student a reasonable opportunity to make up or redo a class assignment or examination for which the student received a failing grade.

In PPCD, a district-adopted curriculum should be in place. Consider a research based developmental checklist to report progress in lieu of taking grades. Preschool curriculum has a social emotional focus; therefore, letter grades do not accurately reflect growth in these areas.  

In addition to state statute, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits the discrimination on the basis of disability in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities, including
public elementary and secondary school systems, regardless of receipt of federal financial assistance.

What We Do
A student’s grades communicate his/her relative mastery of content. Educators gather achievement information for two distinct reasons: 
  • to make instructional decisions (formative assessment) and
  • to communicate summative performance in a course or on a task (summative assessment). 
This communication could be to administrators or other instructional personnel, the student, or the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s).

Teachers take data and/or grades in two distinct ways: 

    1.  Formative assessments take place during instruction for the following purposes:
    • to make instructional decisions;
    • to gauge the efficacy of teaching practices and the student’s acquisition of knowledge and skills;
    • to identify and remediate individual and group deficiencies;
    • to allow students to reflect on their progress prior to the determination of a final grade; and
    • to guide future instructional decisions and learning experiences.
    2.  Summative assessments take place in order to reflect mastery of content at a certain point in time. Summative assessments include questionnaires,                 surveys, interviews, observations, testing, and projects (a culminating project that synthesizes knowledge). Schools use this information to:
    • convey information regarding achievement to parents and students;
    • call attention to the needs of struggling learners;
    • determine students’ grade-level promotion and retention; and
    • determine awards, accolades, and entry into clubs/activities.
Both formative and summative assessments are critical pieces of information to have at all levels of education, including early childhood. All children grow at such different rates that LEAs must monitor students’ progress closely, so that teachers can assist students at the earliest signs of academic struggle.

Decision Making Responsibilities Related to Grading

*This determination is not a requirement, but ARD committees may find it helpful to include this information in a student’s IEP.
** ARD committees will make decisions pertaining to promotion and retention, serving also as the grade placement committee when a student fails, with the exception of determining if a student receives “course credit” for high school. 
***If appropriate accommodations, modifications and specially designed instruction are in place for a student, there should be few instances when there would be a need to alter the student’s individual grading policy. When doing so, the ARD committee should be able to defend the reason and ensure that the committee made the decision based on individual student needs. The ARD committee must also ensure that the grading policy a student’s teachers use is one that is also available to all students regardless of special education eligibility. For additional information, refer to the legal citations provided in this document.