Secondary PowerSchool and Grading Guidelines FAQ for Parents

  • In an effort to accurately report how well students are understanding the concepts of a course, the grading program PowerSchool, has been designed to calculate grades based on 90% assessments and 10% classwork/homework. These settings can be adjusted by teachers but it is recommended to keep the default setting to ensure that the majority of a student’s grade is a reflection of what they know and can do. 

    1. Are 90% of students' grades made up of only test scores?
      No. An assessment is any assignment that is graded for student understanding of content. This can include tests, quizzes, projects, performance assessments, term papers, lab reports, and many other assignments.

    1. What is the other 10% of a student’s grade made up of?
      10% of a student is based on completing practice activities such as classwork, homework or any other assignment that is graded on completion or participation rather than accuracy.

    1. How can I view my student’s grades in PowerSchool?T
      o access the portal please click on this link. Instructions for accessing the PowerSchool Parent Portal can be found here.  If you have trouble accessing the portal, please reach out to your child’s school to make sure your email address on file is correct.  

    1. How can I tell the difference between an assessment or and classwork/homework in PowerSchool?
      Every assignment in the gradebook is assigned to a category. If teachers are using the default categories, the only two categories are “Standards Mastery/Assessments” and “Homework/Classwork.” Teachers may be using other categories if they chose to set up their gradebooks differently than the default. 

    1. What if my child is not a good test taker?
      As stated in question 1, assessments include all measures of student understanding of content - not just tests or quizzes. Most teachers report that they also allow students to complete test corrections or a test retake. If your child is struggling with tests, please reach out to the teacher to try to determine the best course of action. It may be that your child also needs to focus on practice work completion, attend class regularly, and/or improve study habits.

    1. Is the decision to base a majority of students' grades on assessments supported by research?
      Yes. The research related to grading shows clearly that students learn most when a variety of methods are used to assess student learning. Grades should be linked to student learning and understanding of course content rather than on compliance or behaviors. This helps promote equitable learning for all students. 

    1. Can students retake assessments or make corrections to improve their grade?
      It is recommended that students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding. 

    1. How do these grading practices align with expectations for college?
      Most courses in college do not require homework, classwork, participation or extra credit. In the vast majority of cases, colleges expect students to demonstrate mastery on assessments and end-of-course final exams. In secondary schools, we are giving students multiple ways to demonstrate learning.