Remote education induced by the coronavirus pandemic presented a new set of challenges for schools this year, but most local students finished the semester with passing grades.

About 93 percent of El Campo ISD students, or 3,397 out of 3,634, met the requirements for passing the final grading period of the school year. The remaining students were evaluated by the district’s Grade Placement Committee that determined whether students would need to attend summer school.

“The Grade Placement Committees reviewed attendance, grades, and participation in the online learning when making decisions,” ECISD Assistant Superintendent Dolores Trevino said.

Louise ISD officials estimated all but nine out of the district’s more than 520 students completed enough assignments to pass the semester. The number of passing students was initially lower, but before the last week of school, teachers and administrators called home and pushed students to finish assignments.

“We got on the phone,” Louise High School Principal Donna Kutac said. “We were doing about anything … only a few couldn’t be convinced to do anything.”

The Texas Education Agency released guidance in March for how districts should modify their grading policies during the COVID-19 closure. Some of the options suggested for districts were to delay recording grades, recording fewer grades per student or implementing a pass/fail system.

ECISD switched to a grading system requiring at least 50 percent completion of assignments from students. The LISD school board left final grades to the discretion of teachers, but asserted students must demonstrate effort to complete assignments.

The TEA required students’ at-home progress to be monitored by teachers, although assignment completion played a larger role in determining grades than during a traditional grading period.

“Secondary teachers in the core subjects monitored student work in the online learning platform and oversaw the quality of work,” Trevino said. “Without face-to-face instruction in content-rich subjects, the threshold was the completion of lessons versus mastery of content.”

Students who did not pass their courses were required to catch up on work after the spring semester ended the third week of May. LISD students attended summer school for about a week after May 20, and ECISD begins summer school July 6. See related story for more information on ECISD summer school.

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