State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal. (Sound Publishing file photo)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal. (Sound Publishing file photo)

No one fails: School districts won’t give out Fs this year

State Superintendant Chris Reykdal said Wednesday the lowest grade a student can earn is an incomplete.

OLYMPIA — None of the state’s 1.2 million K-12 students will earn a failing grade for the rest of the school year, state Superintendent Chris Reykdal said during a call with reporters Wednesday.

Districts must assign either an incomplete grade or a letter grade better than F to high school students, according to a new policy from the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

In elementary and middle schools, districts can continue with whatever grading system they use. But a student cannot fail a course.

The policy gives “broad discretion” to each of the state’s 294 school districts but ensures students won’t be penalized as school administrators and families navigate distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic, Reykdal said.

“We didn’t want anything that created a permanent record for students when, to no fault of their own, they just didn’t have connectivity or the support to do the work,” he said. “Nothing about this is perfect. Any system we choose has inequities, but we tried to draw the best interest from as many perspectives as we could.”

Under the policy, incomplete grades will not negatively impact a student’s grade point average. Instead, districts are required to provide options like summer school, independent study or a course repeat for students who don’t pass a class.

Each district decides how they’ll do that, Reykdal said.

Administrators across the state were notified about the policy Tuesday night. Many are still figuring out how they’ll comply.

For example, a district could decide to give out As, Bs, Cs, Ds and incompletes. Or, they could opt for just As and incompletes. Or even As, Bs and incompletes.

Seattle Public Schools voted Monday to go with As and incompletes as the only grade options.

It has been over a month since Gov. Jay Inslee announced that all schools would move to distance learning on March 13.

On April 6, the governor extended school closures until the end of the academic year.

Now, it’s unclear whether schools will open in the fall.

That’s a decision for the governor, Reykdal said.

If students head back to class for the new year, social distancing measures could be in place, he said. That could include staggered schedules or keeping high school students online while elementaries and middle schools re-open.

“It’s too early to make any of those determinations, but we’re already starting to think about that,” he said.

Since schools moved to online learning, administrators have placed extra emphasis on graduating seniors, Reykdal said. If a senior earns an incomplete grade, they won’t have time to make up the lost credit prior to graduation.

Reykdal said he doesn’t think many seniors will earn incompletes, and those who do will have options to recover credits over the summer. Additionally, the state board of education is allowing districts to apply for certain credit waivers for graduating students.

“This is not new,” he said. “We’ve had seniors for a long time who got right up to that graduation ceremony and didn’t quite get the credit or grade they needed, so there are typically programs in the summer for credit recovery.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Screenshot taken of a King County video showing Wilburton Trestle
King County’s Eastside to receive major multi-modal transportation investment

Private and public investors will help build a regional biking and walking trail to mitigate traffic

Co-owners Sarah Cassidy and Luke Woodward stand in front of The Grange (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
Co-owners Sarah Cassidy and Luke Woodward stand in front of The Grange (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
How a King County restaurant and farm work together to make a true farm-to-table experience

The Grange prepares sustainably produced meals pulled from the soil of the Snoqualmie Valley.

NW Carpenters Union members strike in front of downtown Bellevue construction site (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
Carpenters union strike interupts some prominent Eastside construction projects

Union representative says members are prepared to strike “as long as it takes.”

Map of proposed landfill expansion sites (screenshot from King County website)
Waste management expert knocks county’s plan to expand landfill

The waste management advocate said the decision to expand seems pre-determined despite assessment.

Participants in fundraiser previous event (courtesy of Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter)
Walk To End Alzheimer’s returns to Eastside on Sept. 25

Alzheimer’s Association moves forward with plans for an in-person event.

Pixabay photo
Union carpenters to go on strike, expected to impact Eastside Microsoft projects

Members authorized strike after rejecting AGC offer for the fourth time.

file photo
The state’s hospitals face “unprecedented collapse” amid COVID uptick warn healthcare unions

Union spokeperson says understaffing was a problem even before the pandemic.

Axton Burton stands proudly in front of the greenhouse he made in his parent’s yard in Duvall, Wash. (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
How to make a greenhouse with 4,500 glass jars

How a Redmond resident spent nearly two years building a greenhouse out of salvaged materials.

Most Read