Burris Laboratory School

Academic Progress Policy


At the elementary level, academic progress, social and emotional development are reported in a combination of ways. Parent conferences are held in the fall and spring. Report cards are sent home at the end of each semester. Letter grades are not given. Indicators show progress in relation to grade-level expectations and narrative comments, specific to the child, and provide detail.

At the year's end, a student may be promoted, retained or assigned. The term "assigned" is rarely used. It may be applied when a student has not mastered academic/social skills necessary for success at the next grade level, yet the faculty and administration have determined that retention would not benefit the student.


Middle school students receive letter grades each semester for all classes. Other classes, such as physical education, health, music, arts, and enrichment classes receive grades each six, nine, or twelve weeks. While teachers have the option of their own grading system, generally the grading scale of percentage breakdown that is maintained by PowerSchool is the preferred choice of most middle school teachers. Parent conferences to discuss student progress are held in the fall and spring of each school year.


It is assumed that all members of the Burris Laboratory School community are interested in and committed to fostering the intellectual, social, and physical development of students. At the high school level, grades are an important indicator and record of the progress individuals make in this development. Successful completion of high school requirements involves the earning of passing grades in specific subjects and in a total number of subjects. Therefore, the failure to earn a passing grade in any course should be a matter of serious concern for faculty, students, parents/guardians, and other school personnel.

Acknowledging the seriousness of this matter, Burris High School expects all of the following to be part of a process to minimize student grade failure:

    • The Burris administration will clearly communicate to parents the method and schedule of grade reporting.
    • Faculty will clearly communicate to students in classes the grading policies that will be in effect.
    • Students will take the responsibility for knowing their grade status in every course and keeping parents informed.
    • Parents should insist on seeing formal grade progress reports at the mid-term and end-of-semester reporting periods.
    • In the event of a failing grade, NC (No Credit), the instructor will clearly communicate the reasons for this failure to the student and procedure may lead to a conference that will explore alternatives that could prevent future grade failures.
  • Academy Classes - Burris students may enroll in classes at the Indiana Academy when appropriate and if class space is available. Advanced placement, distance learning, and optional foreign languages are open to Burris students. Enrollment is by permission only and placement testing may be required. Academy classes taken by Burris students will appear on the official transcript. Students interested in enrolling in an Academy class should discuss this option with the guidance counselor at Burris. Academy classes will, in most cases, count toward the Indiana Academic Honors Diploma and meet the requirements set by the NCAA for students wishing to participate in NCAA athletics. Students should check with the guidance counselor before enrolling to make certain that courses meet all requirements for the Indiana Academic Honors Diploma and the NCAA, where applicable.
  • Ball State University Classes - Burris juniors and seniors who have mastered the appropriate courses may investigate taking a course or courses at Ball State University. (Younger students who have not met junior status but who have an interest in a special Ball State offering must seek special permission from the principal). Burris requires that students have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above to enroll in college classes. Students receiving a grade lower than a "C" in a college class will be required to take a full load of classes in Burris during the next term. No more than one college class may be taken each semester during the junior year and no more than two college classes may be taken each semester during the senior year unless special permission is granted by the principal. Students interested in taking Ball State courses should first consult with their parents and then discuss their interests with the guidance counselor. The appropriateness of said courses will be checked and each student will be informed of the necessary steps to register for a Ball State University course. Please note that a three credit hour course at Ball State University equals one Burris credit. A one or two credit hour course at Ball State University cannot be taken in place of one Burris class. Courses requested by a student are identified, and the guidance counselor will check to see if the desired course/courses will fit into the student's schedule and meet specific academic needs. If so, pink slips with specific instructions will be prepared and the student will take the forms to Burris 133A. Letters to the appropriate Ball State department chairs will be prepared so the student can acquire departmental permission to take the university courses, and the Burris principal will review and approve or deny the student's request. When a student returns to Room 133A to pick up the letter which goes to a department chair for a signature of approval, the student will be given a complete packet of materials which clearly defines the process to be completed before registration in a college class is official. A student will be officially enrolled in a Ball State class only if the student has completed all of the designated steps and paid the assigned university fees. Any student not appearing as a registered student in the Ball State University computer system cannot count the class as one of their six classes. Students and their parents are responsible for fees associated with university courses. Some students take courses for high school credit only (audit fee). Other students choose to take courses for dual credit (high school and college). In such a case, university fees for specific hours apply. The student and parents should make a determination of the type of credit that a student earns. Any questions concerning these options may be addressed to the guidance counselor at 285-2341. All courses taken at the university become part of the student's official schedule, appear on the official high school transcript, and count toward the Indiana Academic Honors Diploma requirements, if applicable.
  • Effort Grade (E) - Faculty members at Burris Laboratory School have the option of issuing an E grade. This grade is granted when a student has worked to his/her highest potential in a class but was unable to master the assigned work at the passing level identified by the individual teaching the class. An E grade is a credit-bearing grade; however, it has no impact on the GPA. Only A, B, C, D, and NC grades are included in a student's GPA. An E grade in a course does count toward graduation requirements. When a faculty member is considering an E grade, consultation with the counselor, resource room personnel, 504 coordinator, or other personnel working with the student's academic program is appropriate and recommended.
  • High School Credit Below Grade 9 - High school credit will be given for algebra or geometry taken during middle school at Burris. Transfer students will receive credit IF the prior school awarded high school credit. Students wishing to earn high school credit before entering the ninth grade must seek approval from the principal. Approval must be sought before the course is taken. Each request will be considered on an individual basis.
  • INC (Incomplete) - Should unusual circumstances arise, such as an illness or family emergency, that prevents the student from completing course work at mid-term or the end of the semester by the deadlines for grades to be issued, a teacher may issue an "I" (Incomplete) grade. To request a grade of "I", the teacher must request a form that is available in room 133A. This form must be submitted according to the deadlines for the submission of all other mid-term or final grades (8:00 a.m. on the third school day following the end of the mid-term or the semester, unless otherwise noted). Instructions for completing the form are included on the form. A deadline for completing assignments must be indicated on the form. To change the grade from "I", the teacher must complete an official grade change form no later than the end of the second school day following the above deadline. If the above requirements are not met and the grade change form is not filed, the "I" grade will automatically become a "NC" (no credit) on the third school day following the above deadline. Grades of "I" earn no credit, do not affect the GPA, and are not considered passing when determining athletic eligibility for a student. However, when the "I" grade is changed according to the above deadlines, the new grade will be used to determine athletic eligibility. All requests for use of "I" require completion of the form and approval of the principal.
  • Independent Study - Independent study is an option for juniors and seniors only with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above. This program provides students with an opportunity to extend their education beyond the courses that are on the schedule for the academic year (No course that appears on the schedule is to be taken as an independent study). Independent studies may not be used to meet the required credits for an Indiana Academic Honors Diploma, but can count towards the total of 47 credits. The NCAA Clearinghouse does not recognize Independent studies. Students who are planning to participate in NCAA athletics should not take independent study courses unless they are above and beyond regular graduation requirements. A student wishing to consider an independent study should discuss the appropriateness of the option with parents and the guidance counselor. The student must develop the program for the independent study with the assistance of a faculty advisor. Each student may include only one independent study as part of the required six classes each semester. Seniors may not take an independent study if enrolled in an internship. A student wishing to pursue an independent study must prepare the necessary forms that are available in the Burris Counseling Center. An Independent Study Proposal must be filled out appropriately, turned in by the established deadline, and signed by the student, parent, and advisor. The principal's approval is required for each completed proposal to be valid. Failure to complete the proposal by the established deadline may result in the denial of the proposal and the placement of the student in a course from the Burris schedule. Grades for independent study are issued at mid-term and at the end of the semester. Time logs are to be maintained. Each independent study is worth one credit, and 90 hours of study must be documented. A final project, determined by the student and advisor of each independent study, is required. Each student will share the final project with peers and faculty personnel in an appropriate setting. Independent studies are part of a student's regular schedule and appear on the official transcript. Independent studies do not count toward the required courses for the Indiana Academic Honors Diploma credits.
  • Internships - Internships are an option for seniors only and must be career oriented. Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above. This program would extend their education beyond the courses that are on the schedule for the academic year. Only elective credit will be given for a completed internship. Students will not be permitted to take an internship and an independent study during the same semester. Internships require a documented log of 90 hours per semester credit. A student wishing to consider an internship should discuss the appropriateness of this option with parents, the guidance counselor, and the principal. A proposal for an internship must be completed, turned in by the established deadline, and signed by the student, parent, and supervisor of the internship. The principal's approval is required for each internship. Internships are part of a student's regular schedule and appear on the official transcript. Failure to complete the proposal by the established deadline may result in the denial of the proposal and the placement of the student in a course from the Burris schedule.
  • NC Grade - The indicator NC (No Credit) identifies a failing grade and is factored into the grade point average. NC is used when the student has not satisfactorily completed work assigned with a passing grade; the classroom teacher is responsible for determining the assignment of an NC.
  • Retaking Courses - Students wishing to repeat a course taken during the Fall Semester should take the course over during the Fall Semester. Students wishing to repeat a course taken during the Spring Semester should take the course over during the Spring Semester. The student's overall grade point average must be calculated by counting all attempted course credits and grades. Thus, if a student retakes a course, the previous course grade and credit(s) cannot be dropped from the calculation of the grade point average. No record of courses is dropped from the transcript. If a student retakes a class which was previously passed in an attempt to earn a higher grade, both grades will remain on the transcript, but the student will earn a credit for only the second course taken. If a student retakes a course previously passed and fails the second attempt, the credit from the first course remains and both grades are listed on the transcript. If a student has a question about retaking a class, the student should clear it through the guidance counselor. For athletic eligibility, students must pass 5 full credit courses (Burris PE counts as 1, BSU course must be a 3 hour course to count as 1) for which the student has not received prior credit. Example: A student retaking a course for an improved grade when the original grade was a D- or better is not allowed to count that course toward athletic eligibility. Consult the athletic director or guidance counselor for any clarification of this IHSAA rule.
  • Seventh Semester Graduation - Students may opt to petition the principal to graduate at the completion of all graduation requirements at the end of the student's seventh semester in school. The principal may grant or deny the request.