Grading for Learning from STEM School Chattanooga

Grading at STEM School Chattanooga follows a standards-based grading approach.  What that means is that all grades for a student are tied directly to a specific standard required for learning by the state of Tennessee.  For our school, we use the terminology learning targets for each of these specific standards.  Learning targets are standards written in student friendly language that signify what a student should learn.

Grades for student learning are only assigned at the end of each unit of study.  Students will be required to take performance assessments at the end of the unit to show their level of mastery of the learning targets.  We call these performance assessments our summative assessments and they include tests, projects, and products.  Student mastery levels are broken down as follows, and each number grade reflects a different level of mastery.

  • No Mastery: Assessment is missing or incomplete. Score of 0.
  • Below Basic: Student level of understanding is not acceptable. Score of 50.
  • Basic: Student level of understanding shows basic knowledge of the material.  Score of 70.
  • Proficient: Student level of understanding shows both knowledge and comprehension of the material, and student is prepared for ongoing studies in STEM.  Score of 85.
  • Advanced: Student level of understanding shows not only does the student comprehend the material, but the student is able to apply the content in a real world setting and create new ideas using the content.  Score of 100.

Student grades are posted online only.  We do not send home paper copies.  All parents and students can access their grades online through Powerschool.  If you are a student and/or parent and do not have (or have lost) your login information, please contact the school and we can assist you in this process.

In each individual course, the overall student grade for a course is made up of individual student grades throughout the year.  These individual grades are listed by Unit and then Learning Target. An example in English: Unit 3 (U3), Learning Target 1 (LT1) – Interpret Figurative Language.  In this case, the student earned a grade for how well they were able to interpret figurative language in our third unit of study on gaming.

Again, all students have an overall grade for each course.  This overall grade will determine student GPA (grade point average) at the end of the school year.  Students’ grades run the entire year.  No GPAs are calculated during the middle of the school year.

Students have multiple courses listed in Powerschool with grades.  In order to earn credit in each of these courses, ALL individual learning target grades MUST be at a level of 70 or above.  Students have until the first of May to make sure this is the case.  A student may have an overall average higher than a 70, but until all individual learning target grades are at least a 70, the student will not earn credit for the course.  In other words, it is not acceptable for any learning target grade to stay at Below Basic.

ALL grades can be improved throughout the year.  If a student earns a grade of Basic on a particular learning target, that student can improve that grade if they are able to demonstrate a higher level of mastery at a later date.  In order to do so, the student is responsible to seek out the teacher and devise a plan to improve.  Every day, students will have time each day during an extended lunch time to access any teacher in the school.

For more information on grading at STEM School Chattanooga, please follow this link: