Shelton's teachers and are considering a new grading policy, where 50 would be the lowest numerical score a student can receive for their final grade of each marking period, and (in some cases) for individual classes and exams.
The policy is already in place at , where principal Lorraine Williams said she thinks it already is and will continue to be successful. "The benefit is that if you flunk right away, you're not done right away. You still have a chance," she said.
So, if a student were to receive anything below a 50 early on in the marking period, they won't necessarily end up with a failing grade when report cards are distributed for the quarter.
Williams and Shelton schools superintendent Freeman Burr said that by putting a cap on what the failing grade would be, the system is giving everyone a chance to be successful. However, this does not mean everyone will ultimately pass.
"If they flunk, they flunk. We're not changing that part of it," Williams said.
Nothing is official yet, and Burr said the policy is being considered carefully. "Each school is examining grading practices," he said. "Particularly grades 5-12 are looking at it trying to determine what will work best for them."
Burr said that at the and levels, factors like course credit and level make implementing the policy a delicate task. Furthermore, it could vary amongst classes and departments, depending on how a teacher or department decides to grade students.
"Weights come into play, particularity those that might be subjective, such as with homework or class participation," he said. "There's a lot of aspects to it. If I'm quiet but a good student, does my grade go down because I speak up less in class?"
Overall, though, Burr said administrators are striving for continuity within the public school system.
"As [students] leave grade 6, we want them to be prepared for the expectations for how they’ll be graded for 7 and 8," he said. "We have to make sure that as kids are transitioning, they're not leaving one world to an erratically different one."
Burr said Shelton teachers are already privy to literature on effective grading practices, and that some research shows zeros can demotivate kids. "Each department has to explore the components of their grading practices. It won’t happen overnight," he said.