The Black and White

MCPS moves to a pass/incomplete grading framework for fourth marking period

MCPS will move to a pass/incomplete grading system for fourth quarter.

Dana Herrnstadt

MCPS will move to a pass/incomplete grading system for fourth quarter.

By Anna Yuan

MCPS will move to a pass/incomplete grading framework for the fourth marking period for middle and high school students, Deputy Superintendent Monifa B. McKnight announced in an April 19 email to community members. The change comes two days after State Superintendent Karen Salmon extended school closures through May 15 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Officials made the decision after reviewing approaches of other public school districts, contacting colleges and universities, and receiving feedback from stakeholders, which include teachers, parents, students and union leaders.

“As is the case with any grading policy, there is no perfect grading system, which is amplified even more now during a very stressful time for families,” McKnight wrote in the email. “However, we believe [these strategies] for grading and reporting will let us know if students are learning, without penalizing them for the impact the global pandemic may have had on their families.”

MCPS officials will provide more information, including how the second semester will be reported, in the coming weeks.

Online middle and high school instruction will continue as it did during third quarter regarding office hours and schedules. McKnight noted that “upgrades for the 4th Marking Period will be sent next week.”

Daily student attendance will not be taken traditionally, but teachers and administrators will monitor student engagement and participation in three ways: assignment completion, whether students are attending live sessions and office hours, and email or phone calls with students, parents or guardians.

Regarding make-up days, the State Board of Education voted to waive five of 10 emergency closure days from March 16 to March 27, meaning that school districts in Maryland will only need to make up five days. MCPS has already made up three of these days by shortening spring break, and has an additional unused emergency closure day, leaving the county with only one day to make up. Officials plan to use April 28, which was originally Maryland’s primary election day, to make up the instructional day. The last day of school this year remains unchanged, and will still be June 15.

While some students aren’t explicitly in favor of the new grading system, they understand the importance of flexibility regarding grading during this time, junior Kushan Weerakoon said.

“I’m not necessarily happy about it, but I think it’s the best move given the lack of reliability in online grading,” he said. “We all have to adjust in light of a pandemic.”


Ally Navarrete contributed to this article.


For more information on the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to these resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

Maryland Department of Health

Montgomery County Public Schools

Montgomery County Department of Disease Control and Epidemiology — 240-777-1755

Maryland Department of Health and Infectious diseases — 410-767-6700

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Photo of Anna Yuan
Anna Yuan, Online Managing Editor


Why did you join the Black and White?

I love to write, and reporting for the Black & White has exposed me to new perspectives from which I've learned from. Also, I love being a part of the Black & White community.

What's your favorite scent?
Photo of Dana Herrnstadt
Dana Herrnstadt, Online Editor-in-Chief


Why did you join the Black and White?

I love writing, and I love the community.

What's your favorite scent?

Paper Mate erasers!

Comments (0)

In order to make the Black & White online a safe and secure public forum for members of the community to express their opinions, we read all comments before publishing them. No comments with personal attacks, advertisements, nonsense, defamatory or derogatory rhetoric, excessive obscenities, libel or slander will be published. Comments are meant to spur discussion about the content and/or topic of an article. Please use your real name when commenting.
All The Black and White Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *