Grade Configuration FAQs for Admins

Schools are able to control how much factors—such as Cognitive Skills scores and Focus Area progress—determine students’ grades within specific courses. Schools can customize grade configurations to fit the unique needs of each course.

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.

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 20-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.

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

Updates to grade configurations can only be made within 20 days following the first day of the new academic year. If no updates are made within this 20-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 they see 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
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