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    Grading and Assessment

    The primary purpose of grades and grading is to communicate achievement to students, parents, and other appropriate parties such as colleges and universities. A second purpose of grades and grading is to provide information for students to use in self-evaluation and encouragement of academic growth and progress throughout the school year. The grading and assessment policy at Pinnacle Classical Academy is not designed to be punitive in any way. The grading and assessment policy is designed to accurately reflect student achievement in their coursework and to provide accountability in the educational process.

    At Pinnacle Classical Academy students will be assigned traditional letter grades of “A” through “F” to indicate their achievement in core subject areas. In education, much has been made of grades and what the grades actually represent. It is our conclusion that all graded work must be reflective of the content taught and the outcomes expected for each goal/objective for the subject(s) assessed. Teachers use backward planning methods to ensure they use the end assessment as a guide to instruction and expectations of the students.[1] At Pinnacle, letter grades must indicate the student’s level of achievement as shown on the following chart.






    • Firm command of the content domain
    • High level of skill development
    • Exceptional preparation for later learning


    Far above average



    • Command of knowledge beyond the minimum
    • Advanced development of most skills
    • Has prerequisites for later learning


    Above average



    • Command of basic knowledge and concepts
    • Demonstrated ability to use basic skills
    • Lacks some prerequisites for later learning





    • Lacks knowledge of some fundamental ideas and concepts
    • Some important skills unattained
    • Deficient in many prerequisites for later learning


    Below average



    • Most of the basic knowledge and concepts not learned
    • Most essential skills are not demonstrated
    • Lacks most prerequisites for later learning


    Far below average




    Grade Point Average and Course Weighting for Ninth through Twelfth Grade:

    In accordance to state policy, Pinnacle Classical Academy will weight Honors courses with a 4.5 and Advance Placement and College and Career Promise/Dual Enrollment classes as a 5.0. PCA will use the following sliding scale to calculate GPA from numerical grades:

    A: 95-100 4.5; 94 4.4; 93 4.3; 92 4.2; 91 4.1; 90 4.0

    B: 89 3.9; 88 3.8; 87 3.7; 86 3.6; 85 3.5; 84 3.4; 83 3.3; 82 3.2; 81 3.1; 80 3.0

    C: 79 2.9; 78 2.8; 77 2.7; 76 2.6; 75 2.5; 74 2.3; 73 2.3; 72 2.2; 71 2.1; 70 2.0

    D: 69 1.9; 68 1.8; 67 1.7; 66 1.6; 65 1.5; 64 1.4; 63 1.3; 62 1.2; 61 1.1; 60 1.0


    There have been numerous articles, studies, and online discussions throughout the education world about whether or not to “give” students a zero (note the word “give”). In our environment, it is very important to establish some parameters when assigning a grade of zero.

    With the purpose of grading in mind, the assigned (or earned) grade must reflect the student’s achievement. If grading accurately reflects student achievement then the logic of assigning grades becomes very clear. If a student does not complete an assignment or fails to turn in an assignment after a period of time, then that student has not shown any measurable achievement. In a similar vein, on assessments (both formative and summative) it is important for a student to be assigned the grade that corresponds with their demonstrated achievement. In other words, the students’ grades shall reflect their achievement on any and all assignments in which grades are taken.

    Unfortunately, all of this leads to the rather troublesome issue of assigning grades to work that is late or is not completed. It is not effective to enforce an absolute zero-tolerance policy where if an assignment (think homework or similar task) is not turned in on time that a zero is the assigned grade. The student must still be required the complete the assignment, and their grade on that assignment should reflect their achievement. However, there should also be some form of grade penalty if a student is late with an assignment. The penalty should be in accordance with the type of assignment while still allowing a student to complete the assignment. (ex. 10 points off for each day a homework assignment is late) However, there comes a point when it is indeed too late to turn in an assignment and a grade of zero is warranted. (ex. After a homework assignment is more than a couple of days late, the student will earn a grade of zero)


    For more information please see the Student/Parent Handbook  



    [1] Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (Expanded 2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

    [2] http://sbepolicy.dpi.state.nc.us/policies/GCS-L004.asp?pri=01&cat=L&pol=004&acr=GCS All high school and high school credit courses are compelled to use a 10-point grading scale.

    [3] Kohn, A. (1999, March 1). From Degrading to De-Grading. HIGH SCHOOL MAGAZINE. and For students’ sake, say no to ‘No-Zero Policy’ on grading (Catalyst Chicago)