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- ACCESS Grades Policy
- Term Exams
- Grades Overview
- Term Average Calculation
- Student Success
ACCESS Grades Policy
Let’s take a look at the ACCESS Grades policy. According to page 7
“At the end of each term/semester, numerical grades will be provided to the student’s school for placement on official school records and distribution to students and parents or legal guardians in accordance with local policies.
Numerical grades shall be assigned by the online teacher and accepted by the participating high school. Honor points, weighting, and other special considerations will be made, when appropriate, at the discretion of the local school administration”
What does this mean? First, you’ll get a numerical percentage grade from 0 - 100% from ACCESS. Your school will accept this grade.
So imagine you earned a 91% in your ACCESS class. What’s your letter grade? That depends on your school. ACCESS only assigns the numerical or percentage grade. Your school assigns the letter grade based on their scale. Make sure you know your school’s grading scale so you know what numerical grade you need in your ACCESS class.
The ACCESS Grades Policy also says
Each ACCESS one-credit course is divided into two semesters or terms. Student grades are cumulative for each individual semester/term. The local school may average the two grades if a course grade is needed.
This means that if you are in a 1.0 credit course, you will receive one grade for the first half of the course and a second grade for the second half of the course. ACCESS will report these two grades. If your school requires a single grade, they will average the grades themselves.
ACCESS and Points Grades
ACCESS courses are graded on a points system. Each graded assignment you complete – whether it is a dropbox, discussion, quiz, or test – is worth a certain number of points. Assignments that require more work, take longer to complete, or are more challenging will be worth more points than shorter, simpler assignments. The more points an assignment is worth, the more it can help (or hurt) your grade. The points you earn on all of your assignments are added up. The number of points you earn is divided by the number of points available to find your percentage grade.
Let’s go back to the introduction. Imagine that you earned 49 points on an assignment. If that assignment was worth 50 points, you could find your percentage grade. 49 divided by 50 = 95%. That’s pretty good!
But, if you earned 49 out of 100 points, the percentage is 49%. That might mean that you should talk to your teacher for some help.
Don’t worry too much about how to calculate your percentage grades. D2L will do that for you. Just make sure that you pay attention to both the percentage grade you earn on assignments and the number of points each assignment is worth. Earning 100%s on 5-point assignments will not help you if you skip all of your 100-point assignments.
Placeholder (Pacing) Zeros
One of the ACCESS policies is that students must complete their work by the schedule your teachers set. What happens when you fall behind?
If you fall behind in your ACCESS course, your teacher will enter placeholder zeros into the Grades area for the work due that you have not completed. This helps everyone - the teacher, you, your school, and your parents - have an accurate picture of your grades. These placeholder zeros are a warning to know that you are a little bit behind. But, they are not permanent. As long as you submit your assignments, even if you are behind schedule, your teacher will remove the placeholder 0s and enter your grade.
Your teachers will tell you when they are about to enter placeholder zeros. If you follow your teacher’s schedule and turn in all of your work on time, you won’t have any placeholder zeros. But, if you do fall a little behind and get placeholder 0s, stay calm. You can still submit your work and replace them with a grade.
Term Exams and Exemptions
Most of the high school courses offered by ACCESS have a term exam for each 0.5 credit of the course. If you are taking English 9, for example, you will have a Term 1 Exam and a Term 2 Exam. The Term 1 Exam will cover content from the first half of the course. The Term 2 Exam will cover content from the second half of the course. The term exams are counted in your term averages. They are also reported as a separate grade to your school. Most term exams are worth 2 – 3 times as many points as a unit test.
Some schools do not require students to take a term exam if they meet certain grade and attendance requirements. This is called exam exemption. If you are exempt from an exam in ACCESS, you can skip the exam and it will not count in your grade. ACCESS follows your school’s exam exemption policy. So, if your school allows you to exempt your final exam if you have a B and one absence, ACCESS will not require you to complete the exam if you meet those requirements. Your school must submit the Exam Exemption form at ACCESS: Administrators / Counselors so that your teacher knows you are exempt. If you think you are exempt, check with your school and your teacher.
Term Average Calculation
How do you define success? The definition really depends on you. You might think that “success” is earning a high school diploma. Maybe success is a getting into college. Maybe success means just completing a course.
You might be thinking of other measures of success, too—like grades. For instance, you might be unhappy with anything less than an A in a course, although maybe this depends on the difficulty of the subject. As long as you pass with a C, you might be perfectly content. But no matter how you define success personally, you probably wouldn’t think it means earning a D or lower grade in a class.
So, if most students believe that passing a class is the minimum requirement for “success,” and if most online students want to be successful in their courses, what can online students do to be successful in the classroom?
We often hear students say, “I just can’t do it!” or “I’m not good at online classes,” or “I guess I need a teacher talking to me. . . ,” or “I’m not smart enough.” But these reasons for success or failure aren’t necessarily true. Having difficulty in online courses usually has nothing to do with how smart you are. More often success depends on how well a student uses these strategies:
- Learn how to take effective notes.
- Complete all assignments.
- Ask your teacher questions.
- Work through all lessons, including practice activities.
- Budget enough time for class, including studying.
Overall, students struggle in online courses not because of intelligence, but because of time management and organization. The good news is that you can combat this by using the strategies above. Take some time to think about what success is to you. Think about what you want from this class. Then, use the strategies above to work toward your success.
Almost every successful person begins with two beliefs: the future can be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so. –David Brooks, columnist and political commentator
Adapted from "Defining Success" by Candela Courseware https://www.oercommons.org/courses/college-success-2/view