A change in state law this year will require Oregon teachers to grade students solely on academic mastery -- a culture shift for schools accustomed to docking points from late or missing assignments and offering extra credit to boost grades. Chronically late work will prompt a meeting with parents or other nonacademic responses. "My philosophy has been that it's good to give parents information about whether their child is working hard and turning in work, but academically, they need to know, really, where their child is," said Amy Wood, a middle-school science and math teacher.

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