AISD implements ‘hold harmless’ grading procedure

AISD implements ‘hold harmless’ grading procedure for students who show effort
Posted on 04/29/2020
AISD implements ‘hold harmless’ grading procedure for students who show effort


Athens ISD has implemented temporary “hold-harmless” grading procedures for the fourth-quarter of the 2019-2020 school year for students who demonstrate a willingness to participate and complete their school work. The new guidelines are in place for all secondary students, grades 6-12.


Under the temporary grading procedures, the fourth nine-weeks (fourth quarter) grade will not negatively impact student averages or GPA — as long as a student scores at least a 60 or above. The 2020 spring semester average will be determined by the third-quarter grade and the higher of the third- or fourth-quarter grade. However, if a student scores lower than a 60, that grade will be used in the second semester average. (See below for grading average examples.)


The leadership team of AISD considered several temporary grading options to account for the challenges of distance learning imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Among those considerations was the pass/fail option for secondary students. However, it was determined that using numerical grades, rather than pass/fail, is in the best interest of our students. A few important examples:


  • Colleges view a “pass” designation as the equivalent of a C. That would be a disadvantage to many of our students planning to continue their education at the university level;
  • Pass/fail would not provide all students with the opportunity to raise their overall semester average/GPA by performing well academically in the fourth quarter, including students who failed a class (or classes) in the third quarter and need the opportunity in the fourth quarter to bring their grade average up to passing;
  • While we anticipate the NCAA will provide exceptions to this rule, currently, the NCAA Clearinghouse treats a grade of “pass” as the lowest possible passing grade. This could put Athens ISD students who are interested in collegiate athletics at a disadvantage compared to students coming from districts that recorded numerical grades;
  • Having numerical grades for each semester allows high school students in year-long courses to earn full credit if the average of the two semesters is 70 or higher. This averaging, which helps students, could not occur if students received “pass” or “fail.”


Two other items of note: The board of trustees temporarily amended local policy to freeze senior class rank and GPA as of Dec. 19, 2019. And students enrolled in TVCC dual credit courses will be affected by the college’s decisions. Information will be shared when college decisions have been confirmed.


See below for spring semester “hold-harmless” grade average examples. Please note, these temporary grading guidelines are effective April 27, 2020, and are subject to revision in response to additional guidance and/or policies that may be issued by the Texas Education Agency. 

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