Note: A document will be released in April providing PowerSchool data entry guidance for more technical information.
Q1: Now that grades are determined, can we go ahead and graduate seniors?
A: No. NCDPI encourages that remote learning opportunities be available for seniors to engage students, continue student growth, and respond to social and emotional needs. This is inclusive of all student populations on the Future Ready Core and Occupational Course of Study pathways. School is not over; graduation will occur at the end of the school year. PowerSchool will have clear directions for grade entry and graduation procedures.
Q2: Do we go ahead and give seniors who are failing a WC19? Do we work with them to pass the entire course or just content to March 13?
A: No. Seniors who were passing a course as of March 13 will be issued a final course grade of “PC19”, but those who were not passing as of that time shall be given an opportunity to work on improving their grade to a passing mark. The scope of content to be addressed is only up through that content addressed in the course by March 13, not the entire course. The grade of “WC19” could be used for a course that is no longer needed for graduation requirements OR at the conclusion of the school year for a student who was failing as of March 13 and did not take any action to remediate content despite the LEA/Charter’s best efforts to support the student with remote learning opportunities during the extended school building closure period.
Q3: Are seniors who were passing courses as of March 13 able to continue working via remote learning to improve their grade?
A: Yes. LEAs/Charters are encouraged to provide remote learning opportunities to engage seniors, continue student growth, and respond to social and emotional needs. School is not over for students. For all spring courses, seniors will receive a grade of “PC19” or “WC19” for courses currently in progress on their transcripts, not the typical letter grade. All fall courses will receive traditional grades which count towards the student’s GPA. The priority is for schools to provide an opportunity for those seniors who were failing to get to passing status.
LEAs/Charters may consider adopting an invitational approach to the learning opportunities for seniors during the school closure period. This could present a unique learning opportunity for seniors if approached realistically and strategically.
Q4: How does this new policy ensure that all seniors across the state are treated equally in the calculation for GPA?
A: All NC public school seniors are being treated equally in that the same grading system is being applied for all high school courses on transcripts using the “PC19” or “WC19” grades. Even if a senior completes a course through CCP, AP, NCVPS, those final grades will still be a “PC19” or a “WC19” on the high school transcript.
Q5: How will Pass/Withdraw work for seniors in year long courses?
A: Due to the variety of high school schedules represented in North Carolina, NCDPI will be proportionally calculating fall grades into the GPA. For seniors in yearlong courses, the actual grade entered at the end of the first semester will be included in GPA calculations in parity with students in 4x4 block courses. The year-long course will essentially be divided into two half-credit courses determined by the semester break. A DTL PowerSchool guidance document is currently being created to provide additional technical information.
Q6: Will seniors lose any quality points (honors, AP/IB/CIE, CCP) that go towards their GPA?
A: Seniors will only receive a course grade of “PC19” or “WC19” for spring courses on the high school transcript. Spring courses will not be calculated in the GPA. All fall courses will receive traditional grades and will be calculated into the GPA with appropriate weighting.
Q7: If schools resume in-person instruction as planned on May 18, how should LEAs/Charters address concerns of having seniors back on campus who have essentially already passed all of their coursework for the year.
A: NCDPI expects learning and typical school activities to still continue until the end of the school year, especially if school buildings open on May 18, even though grades are already given. This is similar to a normal instructional year when an AP or CCP course ends before the other courses but seniors still come to school for certain activities and projects. In this extraordinary situation, it is important to consider these students’ social and emotional needs, as well. This short time could prove extremely valuable as a time to celebrate our seniors and to bring some sense of normalcy for them before they move on to life after high school.
Q8: If college course grades are not on the high school transcript, will this impact the student’s ability to obtain or transfer their degrees or credits?
A: No. The college transcript has always been and remains the authoritative source of grades for college courses.
Q9: Can seniors earn traditional grades through NCVPS, CCP, a virtual academy, or Charter school if they complete the course?
A: No. Seniors will only earn a “PC19” or ‘WC19” for spring courses on their transcripts. There are no exceptions.
Q10: In your discussions with the UNC System, how will students be impacted?
A: NCDPI is having continued discussions with the UNC System and NCICU Admission Directors/Enrollment Managers. Both IHE groups see the plan for seniors to be reasonable and do not foresee any impact on students who have already been admitted to their IHEs. For students who are waitlisted, NCDPI and the IHEs are having discussions on how to gather further information regarding a student’s achievement and growth. NCDPI has brainstormed with the IHEs on different ways to do this and IHEs are committed to work with students. The UNC Board of Governors has also responded to COVID-19 by approving new Minimum Admissions Requirements effective immediately in light of the current public health crisis. A student may meet MAR by either the high school GPA “or” standardized test score to be considered for admissions rather than “and” which was the prior policy. For more information, see the UNC System Office policy manual and go to Chapter 700.1.
GRADES K-11: EVALUATION OF STUDENT PROGRESS QUESTIONS
Q11: Does an LEA have to provide the same remote learning experience for all students?
A: No. This will depend on the home environment and needs of the students. Just like schools/teachers differentiate for learning during the typical school experience in the building, that will need to happen in this remote learning environment as well and will need to consider diverse learning needs, including those of EC, EL, AIG, etc.
Q12: Should an LEA/Charter stop teaching if one student in the LEA/Charter does not have access to a device?
A: No. It is paramount that remote learning continues. LEAs/Charters are encouraged to use all resources and equipment at their disposal to ensure learning during this public health crisis.
- NCDPI is pleased to hear that some LEAs/Charters are loaning out their school-based laptops for student use; feeder elementary schools’ laptops are also being considered for use by upper grade levels.
- For some students, remote learning may be individual sessions over the phone and for others, a zoom class may work, and for others, an assignment via email may work. It is SBE policy that no grades be given if learning is not accessible for all students involved in the class; this does not include extenuating circumstances like illness of a student or refusal of a student to complete work.
Q13: Does ‘accessible by all students’ mean providing school-owned laptops or other devices to the students for remote learning at home?
A: Not necessarily. NCDPI encourages LEAs/Charters to provide a variety of remote learning opportunities to engage all students, continue academic growth, and respond to social and emotional needs. Remote learning is defined as learning that takes place outside of the traditional school setting using various media and formats, such as but not limited to: video conference, telephone conference, print material, online material, or learning management systems. NCDPI does encourage the use of all available devices possible for student use. And use of print materials or other differentiated assignments may be required to support individual student needs.
Q14: Now that seniors are getting “PC19”s, do we evaluate students in grades 6-11 the same way?
A: No. School is still on for learning. If the critical factors are met for remote learning, LEAs/Charters may assign grades in the format the school already uses for grades 6-11 to evaluate progress. If the above critical factors are not met, student grades will not be negatively impacted; feedback is still expected. In the event NC public schools do not reopen for face-to-face learning after May 15, additional statewide guidance for final grading to ensure equitable treatment for all students will be provided by the State Board of Education.
Q15: Does remote learning content allow for instructor-based decisions? Could this expectation include new content? Make-up work? Alternative assignments?
A: Yes. This is instructor-based with district guidance. Even though buildings are closed, school is still on. Be responsive to remote learning factors based on the individual student needs, especially those related to the home environment, and continue student learning.
Q16: What are some examples of schedules or an advised amount of time children should spend online for remote learning?
A: Please visit the NCDPI Remote Learning website for instructional resources and parent resources that address this topic. The experience should include accommodations/modifications commensurate with the student’s unique needs identified in any specialized educational plan.
Q17: What if my LMS or teacher wants to assess student progress on individual assignments?
A: This is absolutely possible. If the critical factors are met for remote learning, LEAs/Charters may evaluate student learning in the format the school already uses. In the event NC public schools do not reopen for face-to-face learning after May 15, additional statewide guidance for final grading to ensure equitable treatment for all students will be provided by the State Board of Education.
Q18: The guidance from NCDPI states that if the critical factors for remote learning cannot be met, student grades will not be negatively impacted. Can it be inferred, that students' grades may be improved under these circumstances?
A: School is still on for learning. Student grades can improve and the content can be new content. It is important to consider the critical factors for remote learning in determining how grading will occur locally. Remote learning can be differentiated in the same classroom. For example, if a teacher has 20 students in her biology class and knows two students who do not have internet access, in some cases, she can differentiate the assignment so that those two students have another reasonable way to complete it via paper/pencil, phone, etc. If one of those two students simply refuses to do it and could reasonably have been expected to complete the assignment, that does not prevent the other 19 students from getting a grade. An instance where a teacher should not grade an assignment at all would be if the teacher really cannot be sure that it was reasonable to expect completion by the whole class considering the critical factors for remote learning.
Q19: Will students in grades 9-11 who are able to complete the course receive honors, AP/IB/CIE, and/or CCP credits?
A: As of now, students in grades 9-11 are still receiving regular grades for the courses they are in if the critical factors for remote learning are met. Therefore, the additional quality point system for honors and college-level courses still applies. It is important to note that the SBE may need to revisit the current policies in place if there is no return to face-to-face instruction in May 2020.
Q20: How will CCP students’ grades be handled?
A: If a grades 9-11 CCP student completes CCP course, the course will follow the same guidelines as all other high school courses on the high school transcript. If the student does not have the opportunity to access or is unable to access college coursework, NCDPI will “separate out” the dual enrollment. If a student completes the course, the earned college grade will appear on the college transcript. The college transcript is the authoritative source for college grades. Please see CCP COVID-19 Guidance for more information.
Q21: What codes are to be used for promotion / retention of students for the 2019-2020 school year?
A: School is still on for learning. Continue to follow best practices to ensure student success. There has not been any statewide direction altering promotion and retention policies at this time.