Southington’s two middle schools will no longer give a student a grade below 50 on a test or quiz – unless the student refuses to take part. In that case, the grade is 45.

“A teacher may include a comment when entering that grade as a default indicating what the actual grade was. i.e. Student actual score was a 38 however school default policy is a 50,” a document outlining the policy says.

Superintendent Joseph Erardi Jr. said this type of grading is “prevalent throughout most, if not all, middle schools.” He said it is about “students having the opportunity to turn around a woeful performance.”

Erardi said a student who receives some really low scores, like a zero or a 10, has a chance to do well if they improve their performance under the minimum grading policy. The old policy was “almost a disincentive.”

A group developed the policy on behalf of both middle schools, according to Erardi. “I personally think they landed in a good spot,” he said.

Instead of retaking tests or quizzes to earn a higher grade, teachers can “re-teach” the material until the student raises his or her 50 to a 70.

“Both schools agree that extra credit and bonus points lead to grade inflation and will now offer up the term of  enrichment for students wishing to learn more,” the policy continues. “This will not be counted within a marking period grade.”

“There needed to be a calibration on extra credit,” Erardi said, explaining it didn’t make sense to allow students, for example, to bring a failing grade up as high as a 90.