Grading

RUBRICS

A Planned, Fair, & Methodical Manner of Grading:  Grades are not required until high school, and not recommended by Faithful Scholars in elementary school, so begin this practice sometime during the middle school years in order that you might be at ease once it becomes a (high school) necessity. Each and every teacher has their own unique manner/method of grading which may seem ‘grey’ and frustrating, but it’s truly good news for we home school graders–This means that we can create our own methods/forms that work accordingly with our unique styles of organization and individual levels of expectation.

Begin with a rubric. –Research this topic for better understanding–  Basically, a rubric is is a pre-set plan or strategy created by the instructor to insure the consistent grading of assignments, tests, projects, etc.  It insures consistent outcome as well as gives your student(s) a clear understanding of what is expected in order to succeed in each subject.  Each subject/course will have it’s own rubric.  For Math there may be partial credit or simply correct and incorrect.  For Composition there might be effort, neatness, content, grammar, spelling or any variation thereof -or more -or fewer (requirements).   There are as many rubrics as there are teachers, but is is simply an efficient and fair minded manner in which an instructor puts forth his/her expectations to the student and then arrives at a grade.

A basic rubric includes the following items, but can be greatly varied according to your focus:  First, determine the areas of your assignment that you wish to measure (grade) and the criteria you wish to include.

  • example: content, spelling, number correct, effort, etc
  • Define those areas listed– example: content includes number of audiences addressed, appropriate materials used, varied style and technique, required length, neatness, and etc.
  • Create your measurement scale (weighing of criteria)– example: 40% assigned to each area therefore a perfect content score would be 40 of 100 points to be added to the other areas being measured.

Recording subject assignments, tests, projects, and etc. can be done in a variety of manners, but we cannot stress how important it is to record them as they are completed.  This will save such a mountain of unearthing, sorting, calculating work at the end of the year that you will count this preemptive time invaluable.- I promise!

Record keeping can be maintained in simple or complex form as long as you are tracking graded assignments, tests, projects (per subject) for end of semester or year GPA.  This is an example of paper/pen record keeping methodology, but as our personalities vastly vary so do our means and methods of record keeping vary.  From complex spreadsheets to simple teacher planners, the range is wide; The only common variant is that keeping up with your daily/weekly records will bring peaceful surety when the June 15th deadline (to submit end of year high school subjects/graded) approaches, and you are quickly able to submit courses/grades/weights.  For this step please use our Faithful Scholars Electronic Transcript Worksheet.

WEIGHTING

Faithful Scholars tabulates your child’s cumulative GPA using the South Carolina Grade Conversion Chart  commonly referred to as the South Carolina Uniform Grading Policy (SCUGP).  To see how the public school handle this in the schools read through this document. The three brackets are:

  • College Prep uses a 4.0 scale maxing out at 4.875
  • Honors uses a 5.0 scale maxing out at 5.375
  • Dual Credit/AP uses what is commonly referred to as a 6.0 scale but maxes out at 5.875

College Prep is what you would think of as typical course using a textbook or material that is geared toward high school.  If you are uncertain you can check the website of or call the textbook publisher and request their opinion.  This can be helpful in creating your course description as well.  It is a good idea to have this supporting material in your Records Notebook.  This will be required if you are transferring 8th grade core subjects to your student’s high school transcript.  Homeschoolers typically complete 100% of their subject work while traditional schools aim toward completing a minimum of 80% of the course.  Which leads us to…….

Honors, per the SC State Board of Education, states, “Honors courses, which extend and deepen the scope and sequence of a typical college prep level high school course, are academic in nature and are designed for students exhibiting superior abilities in the particular content area.  The honors curriculum places emphasis on critical and analytic thinking, rational decision making, and inductive/deductive reasoning.”

Faithful Scholars grants honors credit in academic courses beyond core subjects with pre-approval.  Supporting documentation is becoming commonly required by the colleges.  Be sure that your honors courses meet these criteria.  A basic rule of thumb is to do 125% workload in any subject matter designated as honors.  Note that College Prep is designated as 80%-100% completion of coursework.

Honors courses must extend the scope, sequence, and rigor of the subject material, must involve the completion of 100% of the textbook/course work, and must be completed along with an in depth project, research paper, mentorship, internship, or other.  It is not a small additional project, a quick study in adjoining areas, or a subject that caused your student to work really hard.  It should account for 30 to 60 additional hours of study on top of the full (College Prep) credit.  Recall that a Carnegie unit is 120-150 hours of study.

Per SC Uniform Grading Policy:  There must be evidence that the honors-level course represents extension, acceleration, and enrichment of the South Carolina CP course of study. Curriculum should indicate depth in rigor, complexity, challenges, and creativity beyond the CP level course as outlined in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate.
There must be evidence of appropriate differentiation in instructional practices for advanced learnings that will enhance the delivery of instruction while strengthening the components outlined in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate.
There must be evidence that purposeful assessment practices align with the honors level curriculum and instructional best practices include pre-assessment, formative assessment, and summative assessment.
One half of a quality point (.5) is added to the College Preparatory (CP) weighting for honors course that meet ALL of the three criteria above.

These criteria apply to all honors courses, including those offered online and in other nontraditional settings (SC Honors Framework Implementation Guide, April 3, 2017; p. 5).

To award the honors credit, we will need documentation of honors level rigor for each of the following courses.  That documentation must include a curriculum guide that includes the following:
Course description;
SC state standard alignment;
Key concepts;
Expectations at the honors level of performance;
Pacing guides with examples of assignments, time tables and deadlines, assessments, rubrics, grading practices; and
Instructional materials needed to successfully complete the coursework.
Materials that could provide evidence would be varied texts and supplemental materials, student work samples that demonstrate student-initiated research, project-based learning, problem-solving and critical thinking, etc. We will also need assessment samples (pre-assessments, descriptions of formative assessments, and summative assessments, along with scoring guides and rubrics for essays, projects, and other non-test assessments.

Dual Credit:  Faithful Scholars students that are/turn age 16 and up, or hold Junior or Senior year status, are automatically sent a Permission Letter for Attending Secondary Schools.  This letter will be requested by the college during your application process.  Please keep this letter in your Records Notebook or other long term filing system.   –the one created with a special place of honor to contain your member letters, year by year reports/grades/transcripts, course description, book ISBN #s, and other important home school related documents–

Earning college credit while in high school is a wonderful way to get a jump on college, save money, and receive a GPA bump**.  After the age of 16, or upon Junior year status, your child will be eligible to apply to a secondary school (brick and mortar, on line, long distance, or local) and begin earning dual credits. Please note that only academic courses will receive a GPA bump.**  Other, non academic courses, will be accepted as indicated below.

**DUAL CREDIT will be awarded for academic core classes. These are typically courses that are able to be easily transferred from one college to another. Remedial academic courses will be assigned College Prep weighting.

**HONORS CREDIT will be awarded for non-core academic classes.

**COLLEGE PREP CREDIT will be awarded for all other non-core elective focused courses. Per the SC State Board of Education:  “Dual credit courses- taken at a post-secondary institution- are those courses for which the student has been granted permission by his or her home school to earn both Carnegie units and college credit for those particular courses.”

An official transcript from each college is also required in order to assign the dual credit bump.  There is now an option to request a snapshot be sent to us via e-mail with a pass code or the ‘old fashioned’ method of snail mail to: Faithful Scholars; 1761 Ballard Lane; Fort Mill, SC 29715

Dual credit may seem like a great way to bump your child’s GPA, but be cautioned that college admissions staff are fully adept at reading between the lines. Each year broadens the stellar reputation of home scholars, and taking a college course of less rigor simply for the GPA bump will be transparent to an admissions officer.

AP: Advanced Placement:  There are more and more AP offerings through online/distance sources and local sources, however, ALWAYS check with the College Board to see that not only the course, but also the instructor is approved. To do this, you can contact the College Board directly.

If you have studies a subject to the depth of an AP course, DO take the AP exam as passing an AP exam indicates wonderful academic rigor on the part of your student’s. Unfortunately, unless the course and instructor are College Board AP approved, you may not count your course as an AP class nor assign the grade point bump. Being awarded college credit (from having passed the AP exam) will be dependent upon the specific policy of each college.

CLEP courses are basic independent courses of study followed by equivalency examination that represents the typical amount of knowledge for a college level course. Being awarding college credit will be dependent upon the specific policy of each college.  Study guides and tests are available through the College Board.

GRADES DUE BY/BEFORE JUNE 10TH

Our academic year (for high school only) closes on June 10th in order to rank our high school students.  This means that should your student not have his/her work completed and submitted by June 10th the courses will be counted as summer school and placed on the following academic year’s transcript.  **email katie@faithfulscholars.com for exceptions**

For seniors, any grades submitted after June 10th will require that you join Faithful Scholars for a 5th high school year and cause your students to not be eligible for the Life, or Hope scholarships which are based upon a typical 4 year high school.  –even though he/she can apply/attend college in the Fall of the (immediately) following year.

CREDITS by CARNEGIE UNITS

A Carnegie Unit is a more appropriate method of gauging subject/course completion when a traditional textbook is not involved. It consists of a minimum of 120 hours of study in one subject. This is set by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. All schools have the option of expanding the number of required hours, so do not be surprised if your local school states one Carnegie Unit to be 150-180 hours of study per course.  The actual number ranges from 120 hours to 180 hours.  The first would be College Prep while the latter would be Honors.

TRANSCRIPTS

if you are a member of, or are joining Faithful Scholars, and graduating a senior, read below and mark your calendar for June 10th!!–

Faithful Scholars requires all high school students to annually submit numerical grades via our transcript worksheets (link below) in order that we might rank our students and keep them eligible for the lottery money scholarships (Palmetto Fellows, Life, Hope).  This requirement does not apply only to those who will seek those scholarships; it applies to ALL of our high school students.

Submit numerical grades on the Faithful Scholars Electronic Transcript Worksheet in order for our registrar to build and maintain your student’s transcript.  *

  • *DUAL CREDIT:  Have colleges mail a copy of your student’s transcript directly to Faithful Scholars, 1761 Ballard Lane, Fort Mill, SC 29715
  • *AP weight can only be assigned with  College Boards approval of both the course and the instructor being submitted to Faithful Scholars via written (email is fine) verification.
  • College transcripts and/or AP verification of course and instructor should be mailed to: Faithful Scholars; 1761 Ballard Lane; Fort Mill, SC 29715.

Faithful Scholars builds each student’s transcript to be as strong as possible and adequate for college admissions, sports participation, entry to public school, insurance discounts, and more. Faithful Scholars is on a list of approved South Carolina high schools which validates the integrity or your student’s transcript and ensures colleges, and other third parties, that you are represented by a legal, honorable, and accepted SC academic entity.

*  Why does it take 21 days???  Each transcript is given extreme personal care.  We make sure that course descriptions are recognizable to admissions personnel; we check for possible weight bumps; we verify college/AP courses; and more.  In this there is a lot of back and forth from your desk to ours and back again.   We continue editing and such until both parties are satisfied with the final draft.  A few days pending on your desk, a few days pending on mine, a weekend here and there, and 21 days have breezed by.

If your student is in process of applying to colleges, contact us requesting copies of your student’s year to date transcript.   You will receive .pdf copies for personal records until graduation when two hard copies will be mailed with your student’s diploma.

NEW SERVICE  Mail transcripts directly to the college from Faithful Scholars here.

If you are graduating your first child expect this to be emotional and trying.  We will guide you through to the best of our ability.  Occasionally this requires a differing of opinion based on experience and guidance from professional college counselors.  We have no desire to offend or upset our moms/dads, but building the strongest transcript for your high schooler is a big part of what you are hiring us to do.

Graduating your first child is like entering homeschool for the first time- unknown and wrought with worries of inadequacy on all fronts.  Pray, breathe, believe.  You have poured yourself into your child, you are powered by His guiding Hand, you have been enough, and it will shine forth when He sees fit to expose the fruits of your labors and investments.  If things go astray for a bit, they will return.  Trust.  You have deposited righteousness and righteousness will return.

FOUR YEAR PLAN SAMPLES: Classical Conversations, Non Traditional, Trade Bound, Traditional College Prep

SUMMER SCHOOL is considered any course taken or completed during the summer and will be credited to the upcoming academic year and NOT to the previous year.

Often a public or home school high school will take this time to fit in classes they struggle with in order that they might focus better.

HONORS NOTE:  Assigning honors wieght needs to be done with care and diligence.  Honors is NOT simply working hard, participating in a co op offering honors level coursework, or completing a text created for honors level.  It IS going beyond the normal academic rigor with a worthy 30+ additional hours of work.  If in CC, it means your child is in the top 1/3 of the class in that given subject(s), if it is a textbook it means that your child has completed each and every question, assignment, project, test, and page of the book.  Nothing less.  Be certain to include supporting documentation for all Honors classes as colleges are beginning to be leary of all of the honors they see coming out of homeschool.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE NOTE:  Most four-year colleges and universities like to see, and some require, 2+ years of the same foreign language with sign language not usually accepted. TRANSCRIPT NOTE:  Faithful Scholars spends a marked number of hours buiding each transcript to read ‘strong’ by colleges.  During this process we help our members understand the purpose and use of a transcript, how/why we build each transcript to highlight individual student’s strengths and passions, and what to do with items that are not best served by being on a student’s transcript.
COURSE PROGRESSION NOTE:  homeschooled high schoolers need NOT follow the same course outline as public schooled high schoolers.  Examples:

  • physical science need not precede biology
  • math can be non traditional (business math, accounting, consumer math, etc)
  • health is not a must have outside of science
  • computer can be completed in various manners but needs to be more in depth than keyboarding

RANKING

if you are a member of, or are joining Faithful Scholars, read below and mark June 10th on your calendar!!

Ranking is calculated year to year by June 15th in order to comply with CHE (Commission on Higher Education) requirements.  Our choice was to either comply or to forego eligibility for our students to receive lottery money scholarships (Palmetto Fellows, Life, Hope).  SC colleges now look for this information on each transcript upon request for the above scholarships.  Rank is not normally given out or noted upon transcripts unless requested by the college, student, or parent-teacher.  It is noted that rank is available.

Ranking is based upon student’s numerical grades and course weight (College Prep, Honors, AP/Dual Credit) using the South Carolina Uniform Grading Policy (SCUGP) to attain year by year cumulative Grade Point Averages (GPA).  This upcoming year will see a lovely shift from the unique SC 7 point system to a more traditional 10 point system.  It will take effect year by year which means the class of 2020 will be the first to have their full GPA calculated in this manner.

Numerical grades, credits earned, and weight MUST BE submitted to Faithful Scholars by the parent-teacher NO LATER THAN June 10th of each academic year.  If any courses are dual credit or AP we also require transcripts mailed directly to Faithful Scholars, 1761 Ballard Lane, Fort Mill, SC 29715, supporting numerical grade correspondence/downloads, and/or AP course and instructor verification-documentation from College Boards by or before June 10th of each academic year.

Courses assigned HONORS WEIGHT-GPA BUMP must be supported in your course description to be submitted to the college your child attends.  This is becoming more common each year as they seek to insure that our homeschool weighting is fair and accurate.  For CHE guidelines on honors level criteria read page 7 here.