Grading Policy

Grading Philosophy

In order to more effectively:

  • understand students’ strengths and struggles
  • communicate to parents what we value
  • communicate to students what we value
  • target groups of students for support and enrichment
  • support students in understanding what to expect, how they are being assessed, and how to approach a teacher for help

Clinton’s staff has:

  • adopted an outcomes based grading policy
  • selected a few shared Common Core literacy standards to teach and assess
  • adopted a shared set of student behaviors to teach and assess

Clinton is moving from a traditional grading system, where you have a pie of 100 points and attach percentages to various categories, to one that is outcome based. Outcomes are statements that explain what students are expected to know or to be able to do by the end of a course. Outcome based grading means that for all assignments, teachers have selected the outcomes that they are trying to measure from the Common Core Learning Standards and/or content-specific learning standards adopted by the Department of Education.

The advantage of outcomes based grading is that our community has a better sense of students’ strengths and weaknesses on the basis of their mastery of outcomes. Students are able to articulate what it is they know and can do, as well as what they need more help with, when they know course expectations. Teachers and families have much better information about why students are or aren’t succeeding in classes.

Most courses have a different set of outcomes depending on the content that is being taught. However, all teachers have shared outcomes that measure the skills that we believe are necessary to succeed at Clinton. These habits of mind, or skills, are called “Hawk Habits.” They vary slightly depending on the grade, but include perseverance, engagement and responsible. Hawk Habits are essential. We do not believe that a student is ready for high school and beyond who cannot demonstrate mastery of these habits. The habits are supported in every class, and explained in detail in Wellness.

Grade Reporting

The school year is divided into two semesters. The first semester ends in January. The second semester ends in June. Grades are reported to families at the end of each semester on a report card. Student progress is also reported to families approximately halfway through each semester during parent-teacher conferences.

While we are an outcomes based grading school, we are still required to submit a traditional number grade to the Department of Education. Students who earn passing grades will receive a score from 65 through 100 on their report cards. Students who fail a course will receive a score of 55 on their report cards.

Clinton uses Jupiter Grades to report student performance on an ongoing basis. Please know that the grading and entering of any assignment takes significant time. Our teachers work with between 90-150 students each semester. We strongly encourage your child to become their own advocate for grades. While they may begin their time at Clinton intimidated and need your support, our goal is to create independent students.

Late work will be accepted up until it can be legitimately graded. Since we are valuing where students end-up, vis-a-vis predetermined outcomes, we believe that students should be able to show progress towards that outcomes even after an assignment is due. Although an outcome may be late and demonstrate evidence of proficiency on outcomes, the student will not be proficient on hawk habits.

Students grades are determine by their performance on outcomes, which fall into the following categories:

  • Hawk Habits
  • Common Core Learning Standards
  • Content specific learning standards

Grading Framework

The overall course grade scale reported in Jupiter is:

Reported Grade Range of Score
4 Range 90% – 100%
3 Range 80% – 89%
2 Range 70% – 79%
1 Range 65% – 69%
0 Fail Less than 65%

Teachers may use grading rubrics to provide students with feedback on task performance. The rubric grading scale used by teachers is:

Rating Percent
4 100%
3.5 93%
3 85%
2.5 78%
2 70%
1.5 63%
1 55%
0 40%

Categories of outcomes are weighted differently. Student performance on outcomes will be weighted as follows:

Common Core Outcomes – 80%
Hawk Habits – 20%

Common Core Content Outcomes – 50%
Common Core Practice Outcomes – 30%
Hawk Habits – 20%

Common Core Outcomes – 20%
Content Outcomes – 60%
Hawk Habits – 20%

Social Studies
Common Core Outcomes – 35%
Content Outcomes – 40%
Enrichment Activities – 5%
Hawk Habits – 20%

Arts/Foreign Language/PE
Content Outcomes – 80%
Hawk Habits – 20%


Frequently Asked Questions

Will this work?
Absolutely. Outcome based grading is not a Clinton invention. In fact, almost 100% of elementary schools use outcome based grading, and Jupiter has plenty of experience using outcome based grading with schools in many states. Many middle and high schools are now also migrating to outcome-based grading. Outcome based grading is advocated by Robert Marzano and other learning experts in the field.

Can a student still fail?
Sure. Or, as I like to say, a student can fail him or herself. If a student does not demonstrate any mastery of outcomes, nor produces any evidence that they are proficient in Hawk Habits, they can still receive a failing grade of 55.

Won’t this inflate or depress grades?
We do not believe it will do either. Last year was our most successful year in matriculating students to high school and we will build on that momentum. We simply hope to give more accurate information about a student’s progress.

How should I use Jupiter?
We strongly urge you to have an open and frank discussion with your child about Jupiter Grades. While there is tremendous power in an online grading system, it can also become a battleground or a source of anxiety. It helps to set some ground rules in your home, about how you and your child will share the information in Jupiter.

What about students with IEPs?
The Special Education Department has begun to write IEP goals that are in line with these outcomes. While this will not mean that students with IEPs will struggle less, we believe that we will better be able to identify the areas they struggle in, and support them through the framework of whatever additional support they receive.

Where I can learn more about outcomes?
October 1st, Curriculum Night.