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The A-F spread of grades for the first semester at Evanston Township High School looked remarkably similar to those from the first semester a year ago, said Peter Bavis, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction on Feb. 8. In comparing the fall terms of the two school years, Dr. Bavis found very little difference in the percentage in grade groups.

“These grades are extraordinarily consistent,” he said, adding, “We didn’t see an overabundance of As or an overabundance of Fs. We know that was a challenge. We also were able to give grades across the whole spectrum, A, B, C, D, and we call it COVID F [CF].”

The difference between an F and a COVID F, Dr. Bavis said, is that a COVID F does not negatively affect a student’s grade point average. A student can make up the course and receive a different grade. “In a traditional year an F would calculate as a zero on the GPA. But under COVID F, it just doesn’t calculate. So we figured you don’t get credit for the class. And that was good enough for us at these times,” he said.

In school year 2019-20, 74% of the grades were As and Bs; in school year 2020-21, the percentage of As and Bs was 77%. There was little variation in the C-D group, with 18% in 2019-20 and 17% in the present year. In each year, 3% of the grades were F or CF, COVID F.

Four percent of the grades issued in the fall semester of 2019 were P, compared to 2% in the present year.

Breaking the groups down further, Dr. Bavis said in the fall semester of the current year, 58% of the grades were As, up from 47% last year. There were fewer Bs, 19%, as compared with 27% in first semester of last year, and fewer Cs – 10% as compared with last year’s 13%. Ds represented 7% of the grades given this year, as compared with 5% the last year, and Fs, 3% each year.  

The number of incompletes dropped to 75 from 135. “That’s about half,” Dr. Bavis said. “I’m curious to know what’s going on there. I would have anticipated during a semester where COVID was a factor and maybe a mental health was affected that maybe we would have seen more than 75. But we did not. So I just am curious as to what that is really about.”

There were 573 grades of P, for pass, for students who elected to take courses pass/fail; a year ago, the number was 915.

Dr. Bavis also noted that attendance in all four grades was above 96%: 96.9% for freshmen; 97.0% for sophomores; 96.6% for juniors; and 96.8% for seniors.