WA School Superintendent: No students to receive an ‘F’, pass/fail grading option

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Students in Washington state will not be at risk of receiving an “F” this school year.

“I have made the decision to eliminate the pass/fail grading option as a matter of state policy,” said State Superintendent Chris Reykdal in a press release.

He said students from kindergarten to eighth grade will go to the next grade level, unless the teacher and parent agree that the student needs to repeat it or repeat a portion of the learning missed.

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For middle and high schools students taking credit-bearing high school level work, Reykdal has laid out several principles for grading. He wants to emphasize that the unique learning environment will do no harm.

“We’ve tried to give students choice in this to improve their grades,” he said. “We tried to make sure there will be absolutely no failing grades.”

Additionally, students will be able to improve their grade based on their grade from March 17. While students will not receive a pass or fail, they will also not get a “no credit” grade.

However, teachers can assign an “incomplete” for students who cannot “engage in an equitable way,” the press release stated. This option is up to each school district. For those given an incomplete, they have the ability to change that through summer school, a course the next school year, an online course, independent study and more.

According to Spokane Public Schools, middle and high school students have three choices for transcript options:

  • Take a pass or no credit, which won’t impact the cumulative GPA. Since “pass” is no longer an option, school officials said they’re working to determine a replacement for classes that indicate a pass or fail such as work studies.
  • Take a letter grade, which would count towards a GPA.
  • Request a waiver through the school and school counselor.

“All transcripts will reflect this grading cycle of coronavirus indicator,” Reykdal said.

Districts will also determine how non-credit bearing kindergarten through eighth courses will be graded. They will go to the next grade, unless the parent and teacher agree they should repeat it.

“All students are going to have an opportunity to engage with their learning, so even if you’re content with your grade right now, you need to be engaged in the learning.”)

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