This page is now archived because it relates to information for a previous school year.

DCPS believes that grades support ongoing learning, by providing timely feedback and informing personalized instruction, while making a record of growth and development over students’ school career.

We used feedback from teachers, school leaders, students, and the education community to ensure our learning at home grading policy is equitable and genuinely based on students’ learning.

Click here to learn how to access the Student Portal in Aspen (guide is available in English and Spanish).


At each grading period, students will receive marks for individual skills or expectations within each area of development (language, literacy, cognitive, math, social emotional, and physical) indicating if they are below developmental expectations, meeting developmental expectations, or exceeding developmental expectations.

Grades K-5

Term grade calculations are based on student engagement, practice and application, and assessment to reflect the diverse nature of student work. All student work will be scored objectively, and grades will be supported with evidence and documentation. Teachers will regularly communicate expectations to students and keep them informed of their academic status.

Grades 6-12

Student work will be scored objectively and consistently, and teachers must support grades with evidence and documentation. Term grade calculations for secondary students are based on Student Engagement (20%), Practice and Application (40%) and Assessment (40%) to reflect the diverse nature of student work.

Teachers will regularly communicate expectations to students and keep them informed of their academic status. Students will not be penalized for late submission of work assigned by their teacher through the Canvas Course Companion. Students in grades 6-12 and their families will continue to use the Aspen Student and Parent Portal to view current course and assignment grades.

Student Engagement for Secondary School (Grades 6-12)

Education during the virtual learning environment created by the COVID-19 public health emergency has raised questions about student engagement. DCPS views student engagement as the most critical element of learning. Here are answers to the most common questions raised so far for the 2020-2021 School Year.

The Waiting for Submission (WS) Code: SY20-21

DCPS is pleased to announce the use of new code in the Aspen Gradebook, for assignments that have not yet been submitted to the teacher. 

The WS code that will now appear in a student’s Aspen gradebook stands for Waiting for Submission. It means the student has not yet handed in the assignment. If a student has a WS in the gradebook, they should work on the assignment and submit it to the teacher to be graded. 

If student work is incomplete or unacceptable, the assignment will have an F in the gradebook. That means it needs to be done over.  Teachers can provide feedback and assistance, so the student knows exactly what to do if an assignment has a WS or an F in the gradebook. 

The WS code goes into effect for Term 2 SY20-21 grades and will continue.

Students should submit assignments weekly, revise and resubmit assignments earning less than a C, and work to make sure that all assignments are submitted. 

We hope you find these new codes useful in knowing exactly what to do for student success!

Read more about grading in the Family FAQ.

Page updated: December 16, 2020