Grade Configuration FAQs for Admins

In response to feedback, we’re now enabling schools to choose how individual course grades are configured. Starting the 2019-2020 academic year, schools will be able to control how much factors—such as Cognitive Skills scores and Focus Area progress—determine students’ grades within specific courses. As a result, schools can now customize grade configurations to fit the unique needs of each course (versus requiring all courses to follow the original 70:30 Cognitive Skill score to Focus Area progress weighting ratio).

Summit Learning’s grading philosophy is based on research that emphasizes the importance of building cognitive skills, as strong cognitive skills are proven indicators of academic and career success. In line with this philosophy, this flexible grading configuration gives schools the opportunity to add an increased emphasis on cognitive skill development. This flexibility should also make it easier for schools to communicate around how grades are determined, since schools will be able to own the set up of their grading system.


Who will be in charge of setting grading configurations?

School leaders will assign specific school personnel to the role(s) of “Grade System Manager” (school leaders may decide to assign multiple grade system managers to a given school; in some cases, the school leaders may even assign themselves as grade system managers). Grade system managers will work with their school’s leaders, teachers, and Summit Learning mentor in order to determine appropriate course grade configurations. School leaders can start assigning this role through the Platform’s Setup page starting May 1, 2019.

What are the responsibilities of a GSM?

The GSM is responsible for setting all grade configurations for all courses prior to the first day of school. To do this, we recommend that GSMs first align with their school leaders and key stakeholders.

GSMs may also be responsible for updating course grade configurations after the school year has begun (within a three-day window following the first day of the new academic year). This may happen if a Curriculum Author (who does not have GSM-abilities) makes a change to a course—in this case, GSMs will be notified to adjust the configuration.

When can GSMs start setting grade configurations?

GSMs can set grade configurations starting June 10, 2019.

Can GSMs update grade configurations once the school year has started?

Updates to grade configurations can only be made within five school days following the first day of the new academic year. If no updates are made within this five-day window, course configurations will be automatically set at the default recommendation.

How do I assign a GSM?

To assign a GSM, you must have admin permissions within your Platform account:

  1. Go to Setup
  2. Click Teachers
  3. Click the pencil icon to edit
  4. Click on the Roles tab
  5. Select the Grade System Manager role
  6. Click Save


What permissions do GSMs have in the platform?

GSMs have the ability to:

  • Adjust the weight of projects and/or math concept units
  • Adjust the weight of focus areas
  • Add or remove weighting of additional focus areas
  • Add or remove weighting of portfolio problems

Who should I select as a GSM?

Selecting the appropriate GSM(s) will be unique to the needs of each school. Here are some points to keep in mind as you begin this process (however, please also work with your school’s mentor to determine the right  GSM(s) for your school):

School leaders may assign the GSM role to themselves in order to make school-wide grading decisions (this is typically the most seamless option, since school leaders will already know and own their school’s existing grading system).

In some cases, school leaders may find it fitting to assign the GSM role to other teachers who have appropriate grading oversight or decision-making authority.

Example: a school leader might designate one GSM from each subject department to manage grading configuration for their specific departments, or a school leader might designate one single GSM to manage all grade configurations across departments.

How many GSMs should I choose?

The school leader can select as many GSMs as he/she sees fit. While the choice is ultimately dependent on your school’s needs, it’s common for a school leader to be the sole GSM in the school, or for the school leader to share configuration responsibilities with selected individuals from each grade or subject department.

Do I have to assign a GSM?

No. If you choose not to assign a GSM to configure course grades, each course will receive the following default grade configurations:

         Non-Math Courses:

  • 80% Projects
  • 14% Power Focus Areas
  • 6% Additional Focus Areas

    Math Courses:

  • 70% Concept Units
  • 10% Portfolio Problems
  • 14% Power Focus Areas
  • 6% Additional Focus Areas

Will we receive coaching on which grade configurations are best for our school?

Yes! Your Summit Learning mentor will guide you through setting up your school’s grade configurations. If you’re attending summer training, you will have additional opportunities to receive support.

When will we be able to set our course grade configurations?

Grade system manager(s) can begin setting course grade configurations starting June 10, 2019.

Will course grades from this current AY 18-19 school year be affected by the configurations?

No. Only course grades for the upcoming school year will be affected by the updated grade configurations. Students’ previous grades will not be affected.

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