Grading FAQ

Grading Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions:
  1. May a report card for a student with a disability simply refer to another document that more fully describes the student’s progress?
  2. May a report card for a student with a disability identify special education or other related services or resources being provided for that student or otherwise indicates that the student has a disability? For instance, may the report card refer to an IEP or a plan for providing services under Section 504?
  3. May a report card for a student with a disability distinguish between special education programs and services and general education curriculum classes through specific notations or the use of asterisks or other symbols?
Purpose and Audience of Grades:
  1. Can teachers base grades on a student’s effort, work habits, attendance, and/or participation?
  2. When are letter grades appropriate/not appropriate?
  3. How can teachers use rubrics in the grading process?
Decision Making and Grading Responsibilities
  1. How can teachers provide accommodations or modifications on assessments in class if the student cannot use those accommodations on state assessments?
  2. If a student is receiving special education services, should a student’s progress or mastery toward his or her IEP goals be the basis for his or her grades?
  3. How does mastery of annual goals relate to grading and promotion?
  4. Does mastery of a student’s IEP goal constitute mastery of a course?
  5. Can a school have a modified “grading system” for certain programs of students such as low incidence program?
  6. How do you grade for a student with severe cognitive disabilities who is receiving services in the general education setting?
  7. If a student is receiving instruction in a resource setting, do you determine grades based on progress toward their IEP goals or on progress toward mastery of the curriculum?
  8. Who determines grades for students who receive special education services?
  9. Who determines the accommodations and modifications for a student with a disability?

Best Practices:
  1. Should a teacher give a zero for work that is missing or incomplete?
  2. How does the weight of assignments (i.e. large projects, term papers, final exam vs. classwork, quizzes, and homework) affect an overall grade?
  3. Should a teacher include a student’s behavior and/or work ethic in his or her grade?
  4. Should teachers take points/letter grades off for assignments that students submit after a due date
  5. Should a teacher compare students’ achievement to one another in order to obtain a grade (grading on curve)
  6. In early childhood settings, should a teacher assess progress only at the beginning of the year and end of the year?

*Adapted from TEA/ESC Region 20 "Grading and Progress Monitoring for Students with Disabilities"

Additional Resources