MAYNARDVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Josh Williams, Head of School, Tennessee Virtual Academy: Some recent media reports have unfortunately mischaracterized the grading procedures used at Tennessee Virtual Academy (TNVA). Recently, our academic team made the decision to modify aspect of our internal grading procedure to recognize middle school students' most recent progress and unit assessment scores rather than averaging a series of scores. Consistent with our school's unique mastery-based learning model, this modification was designed to help increase student engagement by rewarding students who made an extra effort to master the material and improve their scores. Our decision did not impact the integrity of our grading system and had no relationship to any state tests. TNVA students earn the grades they receive. In schools all across Tennessee, principals, academic leaders, and teachers develop their own internal grading procedures and policies. They can vary by school, course and class. The decision by our academic team was made carefully and with the best interest of our students in mind. Our goal as educators is to advance student learning by finding the best ways to measure individual student progress, identify gaps, and provide remediation, enrichment, and academic support to meet the individual needs of all students. Josh WilliamsHead of School, Tennessee Virtual Academy (a school program of Union County Public Schools) Background In December 2012, our school's academic team modified our grading procedures for middle school. Our academic team believed this would align with TNVA's mastery-based learning model, improve the measurement of individual student progress, and enable the school to better identify students most in need of intervention and remediation. The decision was approved by TNVA's Head of School and communicated to teachers by the school's academic administrator. The modification involved two of the six features that compose students' midyear grade: unit course assessment grades and progress in the curriculum.