GCS Grading Guidelines for Grades 3-5




The goals of the new GCS Grading Practices/Guidelines are: 


  • To ensure that all students are given sufficient opportunities to demonstrate their comprehension of a subject or course.   


  • To provide direction to all teachers in expected grading practices for the various subjects taught at each grade level.



 Why establish Grading Practices/Guidelines?

Beginning this school year, Gaston County Schools has established countywide Grading Practices/Guidelines for grades 3-12 to ensure that students are given sufficient opportunities to demonstrate their comprehension of a subject or course.  


In the past, GCS like many other districts in the state, had no countywide grading guidelines or practices that outlined how much a quiz, homework or a major test would count.  Nor did the district have guidelines for the minimum number of tests that must be given in a course.  Therefore, it was left to each school or the classroom teacher to decide whether to give one or six tests and the value of a test as compared to homework, class work or a special project assignment. 


The new guidelines provide standard grading practices for GCS elementary, middle and senior high schools. The grading practices ensure that all students are given ample opportunity to show evidence of their skills or mastery of a subject or course and that a student has learned the basic skills and knowledge for a given subject.  The new guidelines also explain grading expectations for students and teachers and the grading scale or what percent constitutes an A, B, C, etc. for students in 3-12. 


The Grading Practices/Guidelines are aligned with the State Standard Course of Study, which means it will help teachers ensure that students are prepared for state tests.


Grading Expectations
Elementary, middle and senior high grades reflect student performance on the various subjects (such as English, math, etc.) at each grade level in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. Student grades are based on tests, quizzes, projects, assignments, homework, performances, etc. with different percentages.  Grades for assignments are based on the importance and time spent on the activity. 



 Elementary School (3-5) Grading Practices

The Grading Practices/Guidelines for elementary school grades 3-5 apply to the following subjects in the Common Core/Essential Standards:  language arts, math, science and social studies.  A grading period for elementary and middle school is nine weeks.  A report card with the student’s grade is sent home every nine weeks and interim progress reports are sent home mid way between the nine weeks.  The report card distribution dates are listed on the GCS school calendar.  


Nine-week grade percentages for Language Arts  
Language arts grade includes reading and writing/grammar.   

  • Reading counts 70 %
  • Writing and Grammar 30 %

Nine-week grading requirements:  Minimum assignments for each subject
The final grade in each elementary school subject is based on the following: 


  • Language Arts – The final language arts grade is based on a minimum of ten reading assignments and four writing/grammar assignments. 
  • Math – Math grade is based on a minimum of ten assignments. 
  • Science – Science grade is based on a minimum of four assignments. 
  • Social Studies – Social studies grade is based on a minimum of four assignments.
  • Note:  This is the minimum expectation.  A teacher may give additional assignments, tests, homework, etc. depending on the subject and material being covered and the needs of the students. 


Number of grades (tests) required 

  • Reading and Math:  In reading and math, at least three (3) grades must be test grades that are reflective of the student’s proficiency on the Common Core State Standards. 



  • Homework: 10 (%) percent – If homework is included in the final grade for a subject, it will count no more than 10 percent. 


  • Homework Assignments – Homework assignments should strengthen and provide practice in skills that are taught in class.  


  • Homework should not be longer than the grade level times 10 minutes.  For example, a third grader should have no more than three times 10 minutes or 30 minutes of homework.  This time includes completing unfinished class work.  


  • Homework should not be given as a punishment. 


Elementary School Grading Scale
Student grades are based on percentages and not points.  The elementary school grading scale for each subject is listed below. 

  • A – 93-100 
  • B – 85-92 
  • C – 77-84 
  • D – 70-76 
  • F – 60-69


  • NOTE:  A 60 is the lowest grade a teacher may record on the report card.  However, the comment section on the report card will reflect the grade is below 60. 


Please note the following expectations  

  • If a child is working below grade level, it must be noted in the comments section of the report card. 
  • Misconduct or punishment should not influence how a teacher determines grades. 
  • Parents may discuss their child’s grades with the teacher on a regular basis. Teachers will communicate frequently with the student and parent.  
  • Teachers will work to ensure that students have ample opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the subject. 
  • Interim reports will reflect actual grades.


Teacher responsibility to parents
Teachers will provide a copy of their grading practices to the principal, students and parents.


Parent Portal on Website
The district has a Parent Portal on the GCS website.  The portal allows parents to follow the progress of their child (only) throughout the year. If you have a question about your child's grade, please contact his/her teacher.


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