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RPS Temporarily Adopts Lenient Elementary Grading

People sitting in a meeting
Cheryl Burke at a school board meeting before the pandemic. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Richmond Public Schools is suspending its traditional A through F grading scale for elementary schools during virtual learning. The school board voted Monday in favor of more lenient grading criteria.

The change comes after a petition from Richmond teachers and parents, who called for more lenient grading to make virtual learning easier on young students who have trouble with technology or lack parental assistance.

While virtual learning continues, Richmond elementary schools will now use the following grading scale and criteria:

  • E (Exemplary) - The student demonstrates the skill at an advanced level; the student's performance exceeds standards/expectations; the student consistently produces outstanding work. 

  • S (Satisfactory) - The student consistently demonstrates the skill at an expected level for their grade; the student’s performance meets standards/expectations; the student consistently produces quality work. 

  • N (Needs Improvement) - The student is inconsistent in demonstrating the skill and needs continued support; the student’s performance is approaching standards/expectations. 

  • U (Unsatisfactory Progress) - The student rarely demonstrates the skill and needs continued support; the student’s performance is below standards/expectations for their grade. 

Chief Schools Officer Harry Hughes says the change won’t apply to middle and high school students, who may be more familiar with technology, and who sometimes need A through F grading to apply to certain schools and to obtain high school and college credits.

Superintendent Jason Kamras says this change will not disadvantage any fifth graders applying to middle school specialty programs, and will not impact students interested in the middle school IB program, which will not be application-based this year.

“If there are any unique or individual concerns about how this plays out, we are more than happy to look into that and make whatever adjustments we think are necessary to address them,” he said.

While the new grading scale is temporary, Kamras and board member Cheryl Burke floated the idea of making the change permanent in the future for students in kindergarten through second grade.

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