Course Credit Guidelines
- Advanced Placement (AP) Exams
- Appeals Process
- Class Absences
- Early Dismissal
- Exam Exemptions
- Grading Policy
- International Transcript Evaluations
- Makeup Work
- Out-of-School Suspension
- Prearranged Absences
- Registration & Add/Drop Procedures
- Repeating a Course
- School-Related Absences
- Substitution of SOL Test Results for the Semester Exam
- Translation of Pass/Fail Grades
AP Exams are administered each year in May and represent the culmination of college-level work in a given discipline in a secondary school setting. Rigorously developed by committees of college and AP high school faculty, the AP Exams test students' ability to perform at a college level. Students who perform well can receive course credit and/or advanced standing at thousands of universities worldwide. For more information about AP Exams, including preparation, dates and fees, visit the College Board's AP Central site.
School attendance is critical to academic achievement and preparing students for the world of work and personal success. Each parent or guardian having charge of a child within the compulsory attendance age is responsible for the child’s regular and punctual attendance at school as required under provisions of state law.
Absences are recorded by individual classes, not by school day. The principal has the discretion to deny credit for the course to a student who missed more than 8 instructional blocks of a 1-credit course (half of the course). A note that includes the date(s) and reason(s) for a student's absence should be sent to the school upon the student’s return. All notes are retained for the use of the Attendance Committee. Should an appeal be necessary, students must submit an attendance appeal to the Appeals Committee beginning with the first absence over the limit.
As an incentive for students to attend school regularly and consistently perform well, exam exemptions can be earned by students who meet the following criteria for grades and behavior during the final semester of the course:
- The student must have a grade of 90 or higher in the class for second semester.
- No student is eligible for exemptions who has had an in-school or out-of-school suspension.
Exams are a valuable cumulative learning experience for all students. Exams are designed to cover the objectives of the curriculum; the actual design of the exam is the instructor’s professional decision. Exams are scheduled each semester. All year-long courses have exams at mid-term and at the end of the year. Exams count 20% of the grade.
In some courses, the final exam is replaced by a culminating assessment. Students in these classes are not required to attend the final exam period, because culminating assessments will take place prior to exam days.
ACPS is committed to a balanced and equitable assessment system. Balanced assessment systems provide accurate and timely information about student learning and achievement. The crux of a balanced assessment system is equitable grading practices. Healthy grading practices encourage and support learning by helping students and teachers see that their continued efforts will result in success.
The division's full grading policy is available here: School Board Policy IKBA, Grading Policy
Transcripts for international students transferring to U.S. schools for the first time require evaluation to determine standard units of credit that may count toward graduation. In order for international records to be considered official, they must be received sealed by Albemarle County Public Schools' International Welcome Center/ESOL Office from the international school. Documentation must include:
- Course names;
- Grades and a grading scale; and
- The number of minutes in a class, the number of times each class meets weekly, and the number of weeks in a school year.
An international transcript evaluation must be completed and standard units of credits awarded prior to enrolling in an Albemarle County school. This is completed as part of the registration process with the International Welcome Center/ESOL Office. If needed, the responsibility for obtaining clarification from the international site rests with the parents and students.
After the third calendar day of absences resulting from out-of-school suspension, days of subsequent suspension count against the limit of absences for earning credit. The Attendance Committee gives special attention to these absences and may withhold a final decision on loss of credit until the end of the semester or the current school year, as appropriate. During this time, the student’s behavior is monitored to assess progress.
Requests for extended absence because of travel, college visits, etc., should be submitted in writing prior to the absence. The dates to be missed and the nature of the absence should be included in the requests. Vacations and appointments should be scheduled outside of class time whenever possible. Prearranged absences do count toward absences for attendance.
Course selection for the upcoming year is an opportunity for each student to think carefully about interests, achievement, and educational and career goals. Give very serious consideration to this registration process. Research indicates that college success is strongly related to the level of difficulty of high school courses.
Teacher recommendations for course selection and placement are based on each student's interests, ability and performance. School counselors use these recommendations to assist each student in planning a program of study and selecting courses for the next school year.
School counselors will meet with students individually to review course selections and graduation requirements and to make sure students are on track with post-secondary goals. Registration Forms are brought home for parental/guardian review and signature and returned to the school counselor within three (3) days of the planning meeting.
After the submission of the registration form, all requests for schedule changes must be made by the last Friday in April (of the previous school year). It may not be possible to accommodate requests for changes.
Credits cannot be earned for courses entered after ten (10) school days have passed for year-long classes, and five (5) school days have passed for semester classes.
- Due to budget and staffing guidelines, course selections are finalized by the end of the preceding school year.
- Selected courses may be offered during zero period, which meets before school. Students who register for these courses must provide their own transportation.
- A course is offered only if enough student requests support that course.
- Electives: alternate choices are made, as the school reserves the right to assign students the alternate choice if necessary or if scheduling conflicts occur.
- Corrections to student schedules must take place on or before the 5th day of the semester for semester-long courses and on or before the 10th day for year-long courses, to a prevent penalty or notation on the student’s transcript.
- Added Classes: Classes may only be added under extenuating circumstances and must take place on or before the 5th day of the semester for semester-long courses and on or before the 10th day for year-long courses.
- Dropped Classes: Classes dropped after the 5th day of the semester for semester-long courses and after the 10th day for year-long courses but before the 2nd week after the 1st interim period will have a “W” (withdraw) noted on the transcript. The “W” is not factored into the GPA. Permission of the Principal is required.
- Under extenuating circumstances, exceptions may be considered by the Principal for a class to be dropped after the above dates. A withdrawn failure (WF) is recorded on the student’s transcript. The withdrawn failure (WF) is included in the GPA calculation.
- An appeal of this policy may be considered by the Principal for the student to receive a Withdrawn (W) on their transcript and not have the course included in the GPA calculation.
- Dual Enrollment/college courses follow the college's add/drop procedures.
Absences that result from school-related activities do not count toward absences for attendance. These include but are not limited to the following: field trips, homebound instruction, sport activities, guidance or group meetings, late bus.
A school-related absence includes participation in a regional, state, and/or national competition in an activity that is not offered by the school. The activity fosters the development of the student’s physical, academic, performing, or exhibition art talents, which is the culmination of a year’s participation, and the student’s participation reflects favorably on the school and the community.
Final exams continue to count 20% of the final semester grade.
Standard, Academic, Advanced Level Courses
Schools have the option of allowing students enrolled in Standard, Academic, Advanced level courses to substitute an SOL end-of-course exam for the final exam. This should be a team/ department level decision. If this option is chosen by a school team/department, a 4th nine weeks cumulative performance task shall be developed to engage students during the 4th nine weeks in assessments that will demonstrate learning through research papers, investigative labs, presentations, or performance task.
If this option is utilized at the school level, students enrolled in Honors/AP, dual enrollment courses, and those courses without SOL tests, still will be able to exempt final exams under an exam exemption procedure through which students have a 90 semester average in the course prior to the exam and meet the behavioral criteria. Students who do not meet the exemption criterion will be required to take a final exam.
Any end-of-year or culminating assessment needs to be articulated in the teacher's syllabus prior to the start of the school year.
Students receiving a “Pass” in a course designated as pass/fail are credited with completion of the course, but the grade from such a course is not included in the calculation of the GPA. Students receiving a “Fail” in a pass/fail course receive a grade point of 0, which is included in calculations of the GPA.