skip to main content

Grading for Learning

Grading at STEM School Chattanooga follows a standards-based grading approach.  What that means is that grades for a student are tied directly to a specific standard required for learning by the state of Tennessee.  For our school, we use the terminology learning targets for each of these specific standards.  Learning targets are standards written in student friendly language that signify what a student should learn.

Student grades come from performance assessments where students show their level of mastery.  We call these performance assessments our summative assessments and they include tests/quizzes, projects, and products.  Student mastery levels are broken down as follows, and each number grade reflects a different level of mastery.

  • No Mastery (0): Assessment is missing or incomplete. Score of 0.
  • Below Basic (BB): Student level of understanding is not acceptable. Score of 50.
  • Basic (BA): Student level of understanding shows basic knowledge of the material. Score of 70.
  • Proficient (PR): Student level of understanding shows both knowledge and comprehension of the material, and student is prepared for ongoing studies in STEM. Score of 85.   
  • Advanced (AD): Student level of understanding shows not only does the student comprehend the material, but the student is able to apply the content in a real world setting and create new ideas using the content. Score of 100.

Student grades are posted online only.  We do not send home paper copies.  All parents and students can access their grades online through Powerschool.  If you are a student and/or parent and do not have (or have lost) your login information, please contact the school and we can assist you in this process.

In each individual course, the overall student grade for a course is made up of individual student grades throughout the year.  There are two main categories in the gradebook for use in 16-17. 

  • Learning Targets (LT) - all learning target grades will go in this category with a grade of 0, BB, BA, PR, or AD
    • Note: Students earn BA grades on learning targets in Inertia Institute only (online work in Edgenuity)
  • PBL - all PBL (project based learning) team grades will go in this category with a grade of 0, BB, PR, or AD

Again, all students have an overall grade for each course.  This overall grade will determine student GPA (grade point average) at the end of the school year.  Students' grades run the entire year.  No GPAs are calculated during the middle of the school year.

Students have multiple courses listed in Powerschool with grades.  In order to earn credit in each of these courses, ALL individual learning target grades MUST be at a level of basic, proficient or advanced.  Students have until the first of May to make sure this is the case for 9th and 10th grade.  A student may have an overall average higher than a 70, but until all individual learning target grades are at least basic, proficient or advanced, the student will not earn credit for the course.  In other words, it is not acceptable for any learning target grade to stay at Below Basic or non-mastery.

ALL grades can be improved throughout the year.  If a student earns a grade of Basic on a particular learning target, that student can improve that grade if they are able to demonstrate a higher level of mastery at a later date.  In order to do so, the student is responsible to seek out the teacher and devise a plan to improve. Every day, students will have time each day during an extended lunch time to access any teacher in the school.

More Information on Assignments and Grading

In order to help with understanding our expectations for work at the STEM School, below are some bullets that we believe may help you as you observe your child's performance.

Google Classroom and Grading

Students have daily work they do throughout our units. This work can be found in Google Classroom and is posted in the Google Classroom calendar. Please see the website information link titled "Grading, Google Classroom and Powerschool" for detailed information.

PBL Rubrics

All PBL project work have rubrics that students are given at the beginning of a unit. The rubrics include the necessary requirements for students to earn proficient and advanced levels. Basic is not an acceptable option for PBL work. Students at the STEM School are capable of and have shown they can produce proficient and advanced project work. Our expectations are that each student is working to produce high-level work.

Inertia Institute

Inertia Institute occurs each month starting in September and is required for 9th and 10th grade students with any scores of No Mastery or Below Basic (scores that would prevent them from earning course credit). Students use the online program Edgenuity for the information, videos, and practice they need to raise all individual grades to a Basic level of mastery.

Dividend Days

Each month starting in September 9th and 10th grade students who have all of their learning target grades at a basic, proficient, or advanced level can participate in Dividend Days-in place of Inertia Institute. It is an incentives program where students engage in enrichment opportunities and activities they want to do for the day.

Dates for Inertia Institute and Dividend Days

* 1st Semester: Sept 19, Oct 24, Nov 21, Dec 15

* 2nd Semester: Jan 30, Feb 27, April 10, May 15-May 25


Students in grades 9 and 10 have all year to remediate (or fix) any Learning Target grade. We will cut off the remediation opportunity at the beginning of May. Up until then, students can work to move any grade to a higher grade. So, if a student has a score of basic (70) on a learning target from January, the student can still work to improve on that grade and can earn an advanced (100) prior to the end of the year. Once we hit the beginning of May, the highest grade a student can earn is basic (70) on a graded item.