skip to main content

Grading, Google Classroom and Powerschool


Grading, Google Classroom and Powerschool

Current Activities and Assignments

Google Classroom is an online program that provides those involved at the school (faculty, students, and administrators) the opportunity to view or post important information. At STEM School Chattanooga we use Google Classroom to post all of our assignments and upcoming activities. Therefore, it is a significant resource for students and plays an integral role in how they become active members of the STEM School community.

I.  Current Activities

In Google Classroom, users will be part of different groups and can post information for the group. Each group is considered a "class" and students will be part of multiple classes each year that are both academic and non-curricular.

STEM General

All students, teachers and administrators will be part of the STEM General class in Google Classroom. Members in this group will be able to view all whole-school announcements. These range from information on scheduling a class, renting the iPad for the summer, and behavior expectations, to timelines on completing learning targets and fire drill information-and on and on. In this group we post everything administrative.

STEM Counseling

Members in this group will be able to view all postings by the school counselor. This includes any unique opportunities (like an opportunity to attend a guest speaker engagement at the college) and anything pertaining to college preparation (for instance, a posting on ACT signup or information on signing up for college courses). This group post is full of possibilities for students to go above and beyond and to gain significant experience.

II.  Assignments for Students

In Google Classroom, users can view assignments for their specific classes as well as a calendar that has all the assignments for a particular student. All work that students are expected to complete and turn in will be posted in Google Classroom.


In each course, the overall student grade for that course is made up of individual student grades throughout the year.  All the grades that impact this overall average are posted in Powerschool.  Grading at STEM School Chattanooga follows a standards-based grading approach-so we tie all our grades directly to a specific standard required for learning by the state of Tennessee.  Here at STEM, we call these standards learning targets, and they are written in student-friendly language and signify what a student should learn.

Individual student grades are assigned based on performance assessments, which demonstrate the student's level of mastery for a specific topic.  We call these 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 comprehension of the material but also an ability to apply the content in a real world setting and create new ideas using the content.  Score of 100.

There are two categories you will see in the gradebook for 2016-17. 

  • Learning Targets (LT) - all LT grades will be assigned a grade of 0, BB, PR, or AD**
  • Project-Based Learning (PBL) - all PBL team grades will be assigned a grade of 0, BB, PR, or AD

**If a student has a grade of 0 or BB on a learning target and has not remediated to improve the grade to a PR or AD, the student will be assigned work in Edgenuity (online curriculum) to bring the grade to a BA.

Assignments Graded

All assignments that are graded (summative assessments) can be found in both Google Classroom and Powerschool. These assignments are titled in ALL CAPS. The naming convention will denote the type of grade (learning target or PBL), the name of the assignment, and the date it is due/posted in the Google Classroom calendar. Example for a learning target could be "LT4 LAWS OF MOTION: GOOGLE QUIZ 9/21".

If an assignment is posted in Google Classroom that is non-graded and is practice, the assignment name will start with the word "Practice" and will not be in ALL CAPS. At STEM School Chattanooga we believe that practice is to help students work on becoming proficient and should neither be punished nor rewarded with a grade. Grades are calculated through the performance/summative assessments only. Example title for a practice assignment could be "Practice: Draft for Romeo and Juliet Scene Creation".

Accessing Google Classroom and Powerschool

Google Classroom is accessible through students. There is not a separate account for parents. Parents should work with their student to talk about and review the items crucial to student success. Students will have Google Classroom accounts the first week of school.

Both students and parents are able to have separate Powerschool accounts.  Powerschool accounts are set up by the third week of school.

If you need assistance in learning how to use Google Classroom and/or Powerschool, we encourage you to sign up for and attend the STEM 101 Parent Night in October.  However, there are also many online videos and documents located on the Internet that can provide you with a 1-2-3 on how to use either program.


New to STEM this year is a partnership with the University of Michigan in gameful learning. This partnership takes the form of an online grading program named GradeCraft. All science courses in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades will be using GradeCraft in place of Google Classroom and Powerschool. This is a pilot initiative this year as our school is the first in the nation to employ gameful learning in the high school setting. This initiative will mirror what University of Michigan is doing on their campus in Ann Arbor with undergraduate courses throughout their campus. 

What is GradeCraft? 

GradeCraft is a LMS (learning management system) that has been developed with the central focus of the student. On a weekly basis, students will complete tasks towards mastery of learning targets, earn badges (or medals) to show-off their mastery, and be able to watch their grade-progress meter fill up real-time. Students are able to view an entire course, and have the freedom to plan out which assignments they want to complete in order to achieve the grade they ultimately want to earn. 

How will this affect my student? 

Students will have the entire course laid out in front of them at the beginning of the year. This way, they are able to plan out their weeks, are able to know exactly what they will miss in class on days they are absent, and be able to celebrate their learning by earning badges (or medals) for learning targets they have mastered. Every student starts at 0 points for the school year and then completes assignments and course requirements to earn their way to success.

How will this affect me, as a parent/guardian? 

PowerSchool only provides you with a snapshot picture of what your student's grades look like, but not their learning progression throughout a class. With GradeCraft, you can view your student's progression through a course and quickly determine if they are on schedule, falling behind, or working ahead.  Rather than focusing on the negative aspect of "getting poor grades", GradeCraft encourages students to take risks and have no fear of failing, when completing assignments, by not taking away points when a student fails to show mastery. Instead, students earn points for what they accomplish, not for what they do not know.