Upper School Grading

Students are evaluated throughout the year on their progress toward individual standards. Detailed information about the PCUS grading system can be found here

These standings do not translate easily into the traditional letter grading system. Instead, they indicate a student’s overall progress on all of the standards taught in that course.

Students are also eligible to be named to the Head of School’s List, a recognition of exemplary citizenship and leadership in the school community, and Scholar’s List, a recognition of exceptional academic achievement.

Purpose of Grading at PCUS

The purpose of grading at Paul Cuffee Upper School is to clearly communicate with all stakeholders–students, families, caregivers and staff–the progress students have made in particular classes in relation to academic standards. While we understand that there are many skills and practices that students can be graded on, the overwhelming majority of a student’s grade will be determined by their mastery of standards. Paul Cuffee Upper School uses a standards-based grading system. 

Grades at PCUS

All grades will be 0.0 – 4.0. Here is what the grades mean related to the standards:

Grade Passing or Failing
4: Advanced mastery of the standard 2.0 – 4.0 equates to a passing grade
3: Meeting the standard
2: Approaching the Standard
1: Minimal mastery of the standard 0.0-1.9 equated to a failing grade(1.5 minimum for Summer School)
0: Not meeting the standard/Insufficient evidence

Grade Calculation & GPA

How will grades & GPA be calculated?

    • All students will receive a score a 0.0-4.0 on all tasks and “I can” learning targets
    • The scores from each learning target will be averaged into a standard grade at the end of each quarter
    • Each standard grade will be averaged at the end of each quarter into a final content grade. 
    • At the end of each course, students will receive a final grade based on the following:
Final grades for year-long classes will be based on the following:

  • Quarter 1 average – 20%
  • Quarter 2 average – 20%
  • Exam 1 – 10%
  • Quarter 3 average – 20%
  • Quarter 4 average – 20%
  • Exam 2 – 10%
Final grades for semester-long classes will be based on the following:

  • Quarter 1 or 3 average – 40%
  • Quarter 2 or 4 average – 40%
  • Exam – 20%

The final grade students earn in each course will be the exact amount of points a student received in their GPA calculation. For instance, if a student earns a grade of 2.6, they would receive 2.6 points towards their GPA. 

Habits of a Learner

Each student will receive a Habits of a Learner grade based on the academic habits listed below so students and caregivers can monitor the ways in which student academic habits may be impacting their course grades. The Habits of a Learner grades do not impact the final grade calculation. 

  • I can complete summative tasks by their assigned due date 
  • I can collaborate with my peers to complete a task 
  • I can attend class on time
  • I can complete classwork 
  • I can complete homework 
  • I can record important class-related information in my agenda 
  • I can follow the formatting guidelines for an assignment
  • I can use technology responsibly 



Average Class Size: 20
Current Enrollment: 820
Students of Color: 96%
Female Students: 51%
Male Students: 49%
Free/Reduced Price Lunch Eligibility: 82%
Multi-Language Learners: 19%
Students Receiving Special Education Services: 13%
Total Employees: 168
BIPOC: 45%
Female Employees: 75%
Male Employees: 25%