On April 19, MCPS announced that fourth quarter grades would be assigned on a pass/incomplete scale.
Superintendent Jack Smith explained, “We have determined that a traditional grading system based on percentages and letter grades will not serve the best interests of all students during this period of online learning.”
According to a presentation to the school board, MCPS leaders are also leaning toward assigning pass/incomplete grades for the second semester, though the idea is still subject to board approval at the next meeting on May 12.
Scott Murphy, director of MCPS’ Department of Secondary Curriculum and Districtwide Programs, said there was strong community support for the pass/incomplete system.
“There is no perfect system, but based on feedback we have received, the preferred option is a pass/fail system for the semester,” Murphy said. “The traditional grading systems will exacerbate inequities that are present in a traditional school setting.”
MCPS has yet to establish clear criteria for what counts as a passing grade.
In response to school shutdowns, Maryland graduation requirements for the class of 2020 have also been adjusted. Student service learning hours have been waived for seniors, as well as state tests, such as American government, Algebra I, English 10, and the Maryland Integrated Science test.
All board actions are intended to lessen the burden for seniors trying to graduate in the middle of a national health emergency.