School district official: No policy on minimum grades

By Greg Oliver
Courtesy The Journal

EASLEY — School District of Pickens County spokesman John Eby said last week there is no district policy or recommendation for whether teachers set a floor for minimum grades based on class assignments and exams.

However, Eby added that doesn’t mean individual schools can’t have their own policy for minimum grades.

“Students can still earn down to zero on individual assignments and exams, but principals may set floors on grading for their schools,” he said. “But if principals set no schoolwide expectations, teachers have discretion on how low they may grade assignments and exams.”

When it comes to quarterly grades and report cards, Eby said the lowest numeric grade students can earn is a 50. Assistant superintendent of instructional services Sharon Huff said all districts must follow the South Carolina uniform grading policy for Carnegie unit courses.

“The state uniform grading policy does not explicitly state that students have to be given a minimum 50 on assignments, nine-week grades or final grades, but the guidance on handling non-numerical transfer grades is to enter a numerical grade of 50 on failing transfer grades,” Huff said. “Some districts, the School District of Pickens County included, felt that if students were to be given a minimum of 50 on a failing transfer grade, then current students’ final quarter averages should be set at 50 in similar fashion.”

Eby said “an F is an F” as far as quarter grades are concerned, but the goal was not to treat current students more harshly in grading than transfer students. When it comes to individual assignments, Eby said Pickens County students “still run the risk of torpedoing their grade by failing to turn in large assignments or goofing off during an exam.”

But he said the COVID-19 pandemic has forced educators to be more lenient on students.

“For the remainder of this school year, that is not so much of a concern because of the way the closure has changed the way we will determine second semester grades,” Eby said.