Grading Policy

Sandburg Middle School Grading Policy


In our Professional Learning Community, our focus is on student learning.  At Carl Sandburg Middle School, a student’s grade should communicate academic achievement: what the student knows and is able to do as measured against the learning standards of the course.  Assignments must be completed to accurately assess what a student knows and is able to do, so that appropriate feedback can be given to every student. Practice and/or preparation (homework/classwork) is essential for learning.  


Fairfax County and Sandburg Middle School’s grading philosophies are based upon best practices and research.  In middle school, students are at varying stages of development and readiness and are continuously learning.  We believe the purpose of grades is to provide information about a student’s achievement at a given time and about learning trends during the school year.  Additionally, we support that academic grades must be separate from work habit grades.


In FCPS and at Sandburg Middle School, grades must:

  • Ensure that grades are based on student achievement, knowledge, and skill proficiency demonstrated in the classroom and are separated from work habits.
  • Promote consistency in grading across teams, departments, and schools.
  • Provide ongoing formative feedback to students.
  • Promote practices that encourage continuous engagement in learning.
  • Provide parents and students ongoing, credible, and useful feedback that conveys the expectations and achievement of identified standards of knowledge included in the curriculum.
  • Ensure alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment.


Sandburg Middle School has 3 grading categories:

  • Practice                                  5%
  • Formative Assignments      30%
  • Summative Assessments     65%

What you can expect in the student gradebook: 

  • There will be a minimum of 9 graded assignments (Quizzes, tests, examinations, essays, homework, papers, etc.) over the course of each quarter. 
  • Homework for practice or preparation for instruction may account for no more than 5% of a quarter grade.  
    • For middle school, homework should not exceed 25 minutes per class block, and 1.5 hours per night across disciplines.
  • No one assignment or assessment counts for more than 30% of the quarter grade.
  • If numerical averaging methodology is used with a 100 point scale, grades will be rounded to the next whole number when equal to 0.5 or greater. 
  • Class participation may be included in a student’s grade if it is based on the quality of a student response and not the quantity of responses. If a team will include class participation in a student’s grade, guidelines for assessing must be included in the course syllabus. This must be entered in the practice portion of the student grade.

SECOND CHANCES POLICY(Makeup work, test corrections/retakes) 

  • Summative makeups and retakes will be allowed at any point within the marking quarter.  Student intervention / reteaching or learning  support is a critical component of the mastery process and will be required prior to a student retaking a summative assessment. 
  • Retakes will follow a common format as determined by the content team. 
  • Must measure growth in essential standards
  • Must be mastery focused
  • Sandburg’s common policy on the offering of second chances on assessments are written below. There are two possibilities…
  1. For major assessments, at least one new opportunity to demonstrate proficiency shall be provided to any student who scores below an 80% and completes corrective action determined by the collaborative team.
  • For students reassessed in this group, the highest grade that can be earned is a 90%.
  1. If all students are afforded the second opportunity then the highest grade shall be recorded in the grade book.


 All courses will have a final exam assessment or culminating activity that cumulatively measures student mastery of the course content and objectives.  Teacher teams will determine the methodology and essential course content for the cumulative assessment that will take place in June. 

Midterm assessments are optional and determined by the content team for  each course.  Midterm assessments will be administered in the middle or latter half of January. 

Final Grades will be calculated as follows:

If No Midterm Given

  • Quarter 1 Grade: 22.5%
  • Quarter 2 Grade: 22.5%
  • Midterm NA
  • Quarter 3 Grade: 22.5%
  • Quarter 4 Grade: 22.5%
  • Final Exam 10% 

Midterm Given

  • Quarter 1 Grade: 21%
  • Quarter 2 Grade: 21%
  • Midterm: 6%
  • Quarter 3 Grade: 21%
  • Quarter 4 Grade: 21%
  • Final Exam 10%