Seattle Public Schools approve new grading policy for high school students

Apr 20, 2020, 3:20 PM
Garfield, Seattle Public Schools, grading...
Garfield High School. (Seattle Public Schools)
(Seattle Public Schools)

At the beginning of April, Gov. Inslee announced all schools statewide would be closed for in-person instruction through the end of the 2019-20 school year to help stop the spread of coronavirus. School districts across Washington state have since adopted online and remote learning strategies for their students.

OSPI says ‘education must continue’ during coronavirus school closures

On Monday, the Seattle School Board of Directors announced the approval of a new, temporary grading policy for the high school students in Seattle Public Schools.

This policy, called “A or Incomplete,” will replace the normal grade-marking portion of the district’s high school grading policy with either an “A” or an “Incomplete.” It will be used as a temporary policy in order to determine final grades for the Spring 2020 semester.

“After looking at several options, we determined the ‘A or Incomplete’ policy is the best option to make sure the extended school building closure doesn’t harm any of our students, particularly those furthest from educational justice,” said SPS Superintendent Denise Juneau.

According to a release from SPS, “grading has been one of the biggest sources of inequities in education because student performance may be influenced by factors outside a student’s control.” The temporary grading policy was developed using the district’s Racial Equity Analysis Tool to be sure it’s fair for all students, regardless of their access to resources, technology, or other outside opportunities.

“Of course, nothing can replace normal in-class teaching and grading, but I believe this is the best option for the unprecedented challenges our students are facing,” said Board President Zachary DeWolf. “With the ‘A or Incomplete’ policy, we’re ensuring that no students are penalized because they might not have the same advantages at home that other students have.”

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Before deciding on the “A or Incomplete” policy, the district considered a number of other options, including a credit / no credit system, using regular letter grades, carrying over the letter grade as of March 10, 2020, with opportunities for students to improve their grade, or letting individual schools and teachers decide.

You can find more information about the temporary grading policy on the SPS website here. Families will receive more information directly from the district.

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Seattle Public Schools approve new grading policy for high school students