JHS Graduation 2019The coronavirus pandemic is impacting all of us, and we know your student’s current school year is one of many items on your mind. As we consider the academic outcomes for our students, we are working diligently to provide the best at-home learning opportunities for students while limiting harmful long-term educational  impacts from this unprecedented situation.

As a result, we have new grading information to share for our students in grades 6-12. For the spring semester, all 6-12 grade students will receive Pass (P) for letter grades A-D or No Mark (NM)Students may elect to ask for a letter grade for some of their courses on a course by course basis.  Students may have a combination of pass, no mark, and/or letter grades. Students enrolled in Concurrent (Dual) Enrollment courses will follow the grading and reporting policies set forth by the college issuing the credit.  Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) credit will be addressed below.  Our Portrait of a Learner Behavior Rubric information will not be posted for spring semester 2020.

Letter grades (if elected) and credit will be issued for the semester based upon the student’s Body of Evidence for work assigned up to the point of school closure on March 13, 2020, and will be issued after school was originally scheduled to end on May 29, 2020.

Secondary Grading: Pass versus No Mark FAQs

Q: What does Pass (P) versus No Mark (NM) mean?

A. All students enrolled in non-dual enrollment (DMACC or other college)  coursework will receive a default grade of a Pass (P) for letter grades A-D or No Mark (NM) for a grade of F, based on content delivered from January 15-March 13, 2020,  the second-semester dates students attended school prior to school closure. Students are encouraged to turn in work,  complete assessments, or complete reassessments on work that was due by March 13, 2020. All coursework and reassessments must be completed by May 22, 2020.

Q: Can a student choose between the grading options (Pass/No Mark or letter grades) for each course individually?
A. Yes. Students and parents should log in to Infinite Campus to understand their current letter grade in the course, and then work with either their teacher or counselor to determine the best choice. As a reminder, students can still turn in work assigned  prior to school closure on March 13, 2020, or complete eligible reassessments. This could impact the course grade if the student elects for a letter grade instead of P/NM.  Student grades will default to P/NM; however, if a student would like to request a grade for a course, they have that opportunity as well.  Students should communicate this request via email to their teacher and school counselor or with a  US Postal Service letter addressed to their school building  between Monday, May 4, 2020, and Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

Q: What if I do not know which option is best for me?
A. Students should consider the pros and cons of their situation. Families may want to research the colleges, universities, or other post secondary pathways they want to pursue to learn about any requirements that may impact their choices. Another great resource is the student’s school counselor.

Q: Do +/- matter in calculating the GPA?  
A: Johnston doesn’t count +/- in calculating GPA but DMACC and other colleges may.  Please reach out to the colleges/universities that you are interested in attending to find out how they approach grading.

Q: How can I calculate my GPA?
A: There is an app in your self-service cart called GradePoint. We would recommend using this to calculate your GPA and determining what would make the most sense for you. Counselors are not able to calculate your GPA for you at this time. Keep in mind most of your classes are .50 credit and .50 weight, but a couple of classes differ from that;

  • PE credit & weight is .125
  • Choir credit & weight is .25
  • Every other day ELP credit & weight is .25.

Q: How does P/NM or choosing a letter grade impact my GPA and graduation credits?
A. Students earning a P will receive credit toward graduation, even for courses required to graduate. Students earning a NM will not receive credit toward graduation and will be required to repeat any courses required for graduation. P/NM has no impact on a student’s GPA calculation.  Students who opt to receive letter grades for courses will have those marks figured into their GPA and will receive credit toward graduation for the grade received.  View JCSD graduation requirements here.

Q: Will a P/NM impact admissions into colleges or universities?
A. At this time, the vast majority of colleges and universities have indicated that student enrollment will not be negatively impacted by school districts moving to alternative grade reporting systems during the 2020 COVID-19 spring semester. The 2020 COVID-19 spring semester will be noted with a comment on student’s transcripts.  Please reach out to the universities/colleges you are considering to confirm their guidelines for admission.

Q: Will a P/NM model impact my high school activity and athletic eligibility?
A. If you receive a P or have a letter grade of A-D, no.  If you receive a NM and do not have enough credits there are implications for summer 2020 activities and athletics. High school students must maintain 4 credits plus PE during the 2020 spring semester to remain eligible for activities and athletics.  The Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union are currently working on a guidance document, which will be released shortly, but in ample time for students to make a decision.

Q: I am enrolled in concurrent (dual) enrollment courses through DMACC.  Does JCSD’s grading policy for spring 2020 courses impact my DMACC grades?
A. No. Concurrent (dual) enrollment courses are considered college level courses, and therefore follow the guidance provided to colleges/universities.  Here is the information provided by DMACC around grading for spring semester 2020.  If you have questions about your concurrent (dual) enrollment course’s grading policies, please consult with your teacher.

Q: Will a P/NM impact my college athletic eligibility?
A. At this point, the NCAA Eligibility Center indicated grading changes made to support students during this time will be honored and will not adversely impact student eligibility. Students should contact the universities/colleges they are considering to confirm guidelines. For updates from the NCAA, please visit NCAA Coronavirus (COVID-19) and NCAA Q&A.

Q: Can I select P/NM for my classes and still be eligible for National Honor Society and earn a “J” Dragon Letter?
A. Yes. In order to be equitable in decision making around admission into National Honor Society and to receive a “J” Dragon letter during the COVID-19 school closure, these decisions will be based on first semester grades only for this year.

Q: Will P/NM impact meeting course prerequisites for the 2020-21 school year?
A. No. As long as the student receives a Pass or minimum of a D, they have met the prerequisite requirement. If a student receives an NM, the student will need to repeat any high school credit courses that are necessary as prerequisites or are requirements for graduation at JCSD.  Student participation in voluntary educational experiences is highly encouraged to support student preparedness for future courses with prerequisites.

Q. Within a P/NM and optional elective grade distribution, what will my transcript look like?

Grading and reporting