Grading and Assessments

DESE Requirement

Consistent with 603 CMR 27.08(3)(b), districts must assess all students based on the district’s and educator’s performance criteria for students during the 2020-21 academic year. This performance criteria must be consistent across in-person, hybrid, and remote learning environments. For example, if students typically receive a letter grade (A-F) for a particular course, students who are participating remotely must also receive a letter grade. Although a district’s grading policy will be implemented across all scenarios, districts should consider exemptions for students under extreme circumstances (e.g., students in households with family members experiencing significant health issues related to COVID-19) and ensure they receive the appropriate support and wraparound services to accelerate learning.

How Somerville Public Schools is Meeting that Requirement

The Somerville Public Schools has a comprehensive system of assessing student progress that includes teacher developed classroom assessments, quarterly grade reports, local common assessments, and statewide standardized tests including MCAS and ACCESS. Assessment data is used to individualize instruction in the classroom, make decisions about student needs, and improve instruction across grades and departments. District ELA and Math Formative Assessments provide teachers with "real time" data on how their students are progressing toward their grade level standards. In addition, we administer the DIBELS assessment three times a year in grades K-3, which provides teachers with data on early literacy skills such as letter recognition, sound awareness and fluency.

Students at all grade levels will receive frequent constructive feedback from educators on synchronous and asynchronous work. In addition, students will receive traditional grades, as described below, beginning in September 2020. 

Grades K-5

We will resume use of our elementary standards based report card for the 2020-2021 school year. The Standards-Based Report Card allows students to be more aware of what is expected of them. It also gives teachers a better understanding of what each student should know and be able to do at each grade level and how to guide their instruction to match each student's needs. The K-5 report card is issued four times a year. Instead of letter grades, it uses four categories, listed below, to show a student’s progress toward meeting each standard:

  • E - Exceeding the grade level standard consistently (not for Kindergarten)
  • M - Meeting the grade level standard and producing quality work
  • P - Progressing toward the standard and producing required grade level work with teacher assistance
  • N - Not meeting the standard and not yet able to produce required grade level work
  • NA -  Standard not addressed this term. You should expect to see some N/As used in the first two quarters. This is because the entire curriculum cannot be taught at once. While some learning standards will be addressed throughout the entire year, others will be phased in as the school year progresses.

Grades 6-12

Students in grades 6-12 will receive traditional A, B, C, D & F letter grades, with an “NA” option that teachers can use if a student has a known barrier that prevents them from completing assignments and attending synchronous classes.

Term Dates for the 2020-2021 School Year

  • September 18, 2020 - November 19, 2020; report cards issued on December 1, 2020
  • November 20, 2020 - February 2, 2021; reports cards issued on February 12, 2021
  • February 3, 2021 - April 12, 2021; reports cards issued on April 27, 2021
  • April 13, 2021 - June 17, 2021; report cards issued on last day of school

Full Remote (Learning Management System - LMS)

This option is intended only for those families who prefer to have their student work entirely independently and on their own schedule, and who have their own academic support system in place, such as a tutor. Students who prefer to continue learning remotely after we begin transitioning to some in-person instruction, and who want to continue working with SPS teachers following the school schedule, will have the opportunity to do so as part of the Phased Hybrid Learning Model. 

Students in the LMS model will be working primarily asynchronously using the LMS curriculum and instructional support, and will not be following the school schedule. These students also have the option of taking art or music classes offered by SPS educators. The district will conduct bi-weekly check ins with families enrolled in the LMS. The LMS systems were reviewed by DESE to ensure that the curriculum is aligned to DESE grade-level standards. The LMS option for K-8 is Florida Virtual School (FLVS). The LMS option for grades 9-12 is Edgenuity. 

Florida Virtual School (FLVS) - Full Remote (Learning Management System):

Students enrolled in FLVS has access to a personal Gradebook where every graded assessment is recorded. All graded assignments, current overall grade average, and teacher feedback are available for viewing. Final grades are available at the end of the semester, as are transcripts for successfully completed courses. 

More information can be found on the “What to Know Before You Enroll in FLVS Flex” at