HPISD Administration Announces ‘Credit/No Credit’ Plan

Highland Park ISD administration announced during an April 7 work session a plan to use a credit/no credit, or pass/fail, model for student grading during the remote learning period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Highland Park ISD Superintendent Tom Trigg said there’s a “real possibility” students won’t return to class this school year.

“All I can say is we really, really don’t know. I think it’s wise for people to be preparing as if that’s going to happen, and then we can always hope for the best that it doesn’t,” Trigg said. “Just be aware that that’s a very real possibility, but no official decision has been made.”

District administration says that, for graduating seniors, class rank to determine valedictorian, salutatorian, and honor graduates would factor students’ grades through the first semester plus the fourth six weeks. Grades recorded during the spring 2020 semester would also not be calculated into a student’s final GPA, they say. 

“There has been considerable thought and discussion among district and campus administrators during the last several weeks about this issue,” Trigg said. “While we recognize there is no perfect solution, particularly since all of us are used to another model, we believe this approach is the most equitable and reasonable method for students and staff given the extraordinary circumstances we are currently facing.”

HPISD Assistant Superintendent for Education Services Lisa Wilson said teachers will still have ways to provide feedback. 

“This means that teachers will provide instructional feedback in a variety of ways and that may be a score on a formative assessment, but it also may be other types of feedback that shows the student’s progress toward that particular standard or objective, and we’re asking teachers to be more explicit about what is that learning target and how do I expect you to show proficiency on that,” Wilson said.

At the high school, course credit would be determined by demonstrating proficiency on the essential semester course objectives as outlined by teaching teams and approved by administration.

Highland Park High School principal Walter Kelly said the recommendation is that high school students in AP classes not be required to take AP exams this spring, although they’ll still be offered, and the requirement that seniors complete 50 hours of community service be suspended for this year’s graduating class.

“Students (in) AP classes are going to be encouraged to take their AP tests… but not required to take them as part of earning course credit,” Kelly said.

He added that he’s been looking into options regarding commencement for seniors.

“We are committed to hosting a ceremony at some point as soon as possible,” Kelly said.

Intermediate and middle school students would receive credit based on work collected each week by their teachers under the district’s plan. Feedback on student work will be provided in Google Classroom. Teachers would use a variety of assignments and assessments during the remainder of the semester to determine proficiency on essential standards.

At the elementary school level, a modified report to parents would be used that will list standards/objectives for which students have demonstrated proficiency during the emergency remote learning period, according to the plan. The report will indicate whether a student is promoted to the next grade.

“We will not utilize the current mastery rubric, and we will indicate whether the child is promoted or not, but it will not be just dependent on this time period. It will be a whole picture of the entirety of the year to promote, rather than just the remote learning period,” Armstrong Elementary Principal Betsy Cummins said.

The plan will require adjustments to board policy and would go into effect beginning the week of April 20.

Parents will receive information from their campuses with more details. The district is planning to hold live stream events within the next week to allow parents an opportunity to learn more about the plan.


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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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