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Petaluma City Schools |  BP  5121  Students

Grades/Evaluation Of Student Achievement   

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The Board of Education believes that grades serve a valuable instructional purpose by helping students and parents/guardians identify the student's areas of strength and those areas needing improvement. Parents/guardians and students have the right to receive course grades that represent an accurate evaluation of the student's achievement.

(cf. 5020 - Parent Rights and Responsibilities)

The teacher of each course shall determine the student's grade. The grade assigned by the teacher shall not be changed by the Board or the Superintendent except as provided by law, Board policy and administrative regulation. (Education Code 49066)

(cf. 5125.3 - Challenging Student Records)

Teachers shall evaluate a student's work in relation to standards which apply to all students at his/her grade level, not in relation to the work of other students in one particular class. The Superintendent or designee shall establish and regularly evaluate a uniform grading system, and principals shall ensure that student grades conform to this system. Teachers shall inform students and parents/guardians how student achievement will be evaluated in the classroom.

(cf. 5124 - Communication with Parents/Guardians)

(cf. 6011 - Academic Standards)

Grades should be based on impartial, consistent observation of the quality of the student's work and his/her mastery of course content and objectives. Students shall have the opportunity to demonstrate this mastery through a variety of methods such as classroom participation, homework, tests and portfolios.

When reporting student grades to parents/guardians, teachers may add narrative descriptions, observational notes and/or samples of classroom work in order to better describe student progress in specific skills and subcategories of achievement.

The Board recognizes that the developmental levels of young children vary a great deal. In order to give parents/guardians more information and also promote students' self-esteem and experiences of success, students in K-3 may narrative evaluations rather than letter grades.

Behavior, effort and attendance shall be reported in separate evaluations, not in the student's academic grade.

(cf. 5113 - Absences and Excuses)

(cf. 5123 - Promotion/Acceleration/Retention)

(cf. 5124 - Communication with Parents/Guardians)

(cf. 5125.3 - Challenging Student Records)

(cf. 6154 - Homework/Make-up Work)

Unexcused Absences

A student absent from school with an unexcused absence, including truancy, shall be provided with makeup work unless the student has "excessive" unexcused absences. If a student misses class without an excuse and does not subsequently turn in homework, take a test or fulfill another class requirement which he/she missed, the teacher may lower the student's grade for nonperformance.

Students who miss more than 25% of the instructional time of a grading period without a legal excuse are considered to have "excessive unexcused absences." In a block schedule, 4 periods of unexcused absences per 6-week grading period in the same class shall constitute excessive unexcused absences. For classes not on a block schedule, 8 periods of unexcused absences per 6-week grading period shall constitute excessive unexcused absences. Students with excessive unexcessive unexcused absences may receive a failing grade for that grading period.

(cf. 5113 - Absences and Excuses)

Excused Absences

A student absent from school with an excused absence shall be allowed to complete all assignments and tests missed during the absence that can be reasonably provided and, upon satisfactory completion within a reasonable period of time, shall be given full credit therefore. The teacher of any class from which a student is absent shall determine the tests and assignments shall be reasonably equivalent to, but not necessarily identical to, the tests and assignments that the student missed during the absence. (Education Code 48205) Class time missed for approved participation in a school activity or field trip is considered an excused absence.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The Superintendent or designee shall also recommend to the Board whether extra grade weighting will be assigned for honors courses that are substantially similar in depth, breadth and rigor to an Advanced Placement course, an entry-level college course or a community college level course.

(cf. 6141.5 - Advanced Placement)

Legal Reference:


41505-41508 Pupil Retention Block Grant

48070 Promotion and retention

48205 Excused absences

49066 Grades; finalization; physical education class

49067 Mandated regulations regarding student's achievement

49069.5 Students in foster care, grades and credits


10060 Criteria for reporting physical education achievement, high schools


1232g Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

6101-6251 School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994


Owasso Independent School District v. Falvo (2002) 122 S.Ct. 934

Las Virgenes Educators Association v. Las Virgenes Unified School District (2nd Appellate District 2001) 86 Cal.App.4th 1

Swany v. San Ramon Valley Unified School District (N.D.Cal. 1989) 720 F.Supp. 764

Johnson v. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education (App. 2 Dist. 1986) 224 Cal. Rptr. 885, 179 C.A. 3d 593

Management Resources:


Elementary Makes the Grade!, 2001



Advanced Placement Challenge Project:


Adopted: October 1995 Petaluma, California

Amended: May 25, 2004