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Grading for Equity


A key part of AUSD’s 2023 Strategic Plan is implementing new grading practices.
These grading practices are based on the work of Joe Feldman, a researcher and educator who, like many other education researchers across the country, believes that grading should be based on a student’s mastery of the coursework and grade-level standards, rather than non-content factors such as effort and behavior. Mr. Feldman's organization, Crescendo, works with school districts across the country to implement more equitable grading practices.
The goal is to support teachers in adopting more equitable grading practices, ones that are accurate, bias-resistant, and motivational.

The Work So Far

During the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years, AUSD staff began exploring ways of incorporating more accurate, consistent, and motivating grading practices.  For instance, staff:
  • Trained a cohort of secondary teachers on the pillars of Grading for Equity
  • Set up a Grading For Equity workgroup
  • Made several presentations to the Board of Education
  • Hosted a community forum on these grading practices

In the fall of 2023, the AUSD Board of Education revised AUSD's current grading policy to include "minimum/proportional grading." This method replaces the 0-100 grading scale with a 50-100 scale. The rationale for this change is that in a 0-100 scale, an “F” can be anything from a 0-59, whereas all the other grades  (D to A) span only ten points. This makes recovering from an F extremely difficult for a student because it lowers the student’s average significantly, even if they get high grades on other assignments.  For instance, a student who gets a 22 on their first assignment, an 81 on their second, and a 96 on their third will end up with 66 (D), even if they have mastered the material. Minimum Grading turns the 22 into a 50. It's still an F, but unlike the 22, it doesn't create an artificial barrier to achieving a better final grade. The resuting grade is now a 76% (C).

This 50 to 100 scale also maps more exactly to the 0 to 4 scale used for calculating Grade Point Averages. A score of 22 would be a zero, not a -3.

A table comparing a 0-50 scale with a 0-4 scale

Traditional Grading Practices

Bullet-pointed list of traditional grading methods

Timeline of AUSD's Grading Policy Changes

Equitable Grading Practices

List of Grading for Equity Methods

Frequently Asked Questions


Vernon Walton, EdD
Director, Secondary Education
510-337-7000 ext. 77906
Jan Carroll
TSA for Instructional Technology
510-337-7000 ext. 77927

GFE Resources