New DOE grading policy won’t penalize students over late work or attendance

The Department of Education will not lower grades for late work or attendance this academic year, according to its new policy.

“Schools must ensure that their grading policies and practices acknowledge the impact of remote and blended learning models on the ways in which students must complete their assigned work,” reads the document, which was emailed to principals Monday morning.

Citing COVID-19 disruptions, the DOE said schools “must adjust” expectations for timely work and are “encouraged to lessen or eliminate penalties for late work beyond these deadlines.”

Student attendance will not impact grades. The policy states that “courses that currently include attendance as a factor in student grades must remove that factor completely.”

Like last year, city students will not be given failing grades and will instead be given opportunities to make up material.

In addition, parents will have the option of scrapping any numeric grade this year with a less exacting “meets standards” or “pass” mark that won’t count towards a cumulative overall score.

Individual schools will be allowed to determine how numeric grades are calculated and will be given wide berth in assessing student progress.

“This guidance is designed to promote equity, flexibility, and empathy in our grading practice for all students,” the DOE said.

Critics of the new approach — which is being adopted in districts across the country — said it dilutes accountability for administrators and DOE officials.

“How do we know if a school is educating their children or not?” asked a Manhattan high school teacher. “In the end, it just makes it difficult to know if a student is excelling or falling behind. I’m not sure if that helps them.”

But a Queens principal said that coronavirus turmoil necessitated the changes.

He said that more “competitive” kids will still have the option of numeric grades while struggling students can still accrue credits.

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