While grades are not the purpose or (we hope) the driver of learning, they are one of the ways we communicate student proficiency with content and skills. There are eight grading periods per year, and these are reflected through formative and summative reports.
Formative Reports: In the middle of each semester (at the end of quarters 1 and 3), grades and written comments/evaluations are available for all students and their families. These grades are not permanent and do not appear on the transcript. Happening while still half the semester is available for growth within the class, comments are designed to highlight and celebrate student strengths and note spaces for growth. Also, during this time, for a period of a week, teacher gradebooks are open and “live” for students and parents/guardians to see. Any gradebook or grading concerns should be directly addressed to the teacher, ideally from the student.
In addition to Q1 and Q3, some students will also receive a formative grade report and comment in one or more classes at one or more mid-quarter. Roughly four weeks into each quarter, teachers will reach out formally to share if they have a concern or if a student has a current grade of concern.
Summative Reports: At the end each semester (at the ends of quarter 2 and 4), report cards with grades are available, representing final quarter grades. Any student in grades 10–12 receiving a C-minus or below receives a written comment as well as a grade. Ninth graders receiving a C+ or below will also receive comments at this time. Only these end-of-semester summative grades are recorded on the student’s permanent transcript. All semester grades of “Incomplete” are to be made up within two weeks of the end of the semester, unless other arrangements are made with the Academic Dean, KaTrina Wentzel. If the student fails to observe these deadlines, an “Incomplete” may be changed to a failure. Note: Students receiving a D or F as a quarter grade may be ineligible for California state colleges and universities, unless the work in that course is repeated and a satisfactory grade earned.
A: Indicates achievement of high distinction. It involves conspicuous excellence in most, if not all, of the following: completeness and accuracy of knowledge, sustained and effective use of knowledge, independence of work, originality, and initiative.
B: Indicates commendable achievement. It may involve excellence in some of the areas listed in the definition of A and certainly indicates real competence in the first three of these.
C: Indicates adequate achievement. It involves competence in course content and / or appropriate skills.
D: Indicates limited achievement with serious deficiencies but bears credit.
F: Indicates failure to meet minimal requirements and carries no credit.
Grade Point Average
Each semester the registrar calculates the student’s grade point average (GPA) for the semester and cumulatively from the time of entrance to the School. The GPA is sent to colleges, each of which has its own system for calculating and weighting grades. Note that MA does not give A+s nor does it “weight” grades for honors-level courses. Instead, colleges and universities who accept weighted GPAs will recalculate at the time of student application.
Students who have two Ds or one F at the end of first semester are put on academic probation. The Academic Dean facilitates this process, which looks different for each student, but that mandates an in-person meeting with the family and provides the requirements for a student to be offered a contract for the following year. When students are placed on academic probation, they and their parents or guardians meet with the Academic Dean and appropriate Class Dean to review the terms of the probation, which are determined on a case-by-case basis. The Academic Dean may also choose to put a student on academic review. This process, which looks different for each student, is put into place when a student’s repeated academic patterns create concern. While academic review is customized for each student, it does require an in-person meeting with the family and provides the requirements for a student to be offered a contract for the following year.
While a student is on academic probation or academic review, there is heightened communication between the Academic Dean, the student, the student’s family, and the student’s teachers, Class Dean, Dean of Students, and the Head of School. If a student fails to meet the terms of the probation/review at the end of the school year, they will be separated from the school unless, after consultation with the Academic Dean, the Head of School decides otherwise. If at any future point in the remainder of the student’s high school years the performance is again unsatisfactory, the student will in all likelihood be asked to leave Marin Academy at the end of the year.