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@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.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

Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Fire Department Twitter page
Mercer Island Marine Patrol recovers Bellevue man who drowned in Lake Washington

Mercer Island’s Marine Patrol recovered an adult male who drowned in Lake… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Fire Department Twitter page
Bellevue, Mercer Island emergency responders search for missing man in Lake Washington

Staff Report Members of the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) Marine Patrol… Continue reading

Freshwater variety of kokanee salmon from Lake Sammamish. 	File photo
Researchers track ‘mysterious’ kokanee salmon in region

Kokanee in Lake Washington and Sammamish are genetically unique. Over the past decades, their numbers have dwindled.

A protective mask hanging on a front door. (Sound Publishing file photo)
King County to lift indoor mask mandate on June 29

About 1.3 million county residents have completed their COVID-19 vaccine series.

File photo
King County leaders propose emergency funding for gun violence prevention initiative

Sixty-nine people were reportedly shot during the first quarter of 2021.

Pills taken during police investigation (photo credit: Bellevue Police)
Renton man charged with homicide after selling fentanyl pills to a Bellevue woman

Law enforcement warns of an alarming increase in fentanyl deaths.

t
Bellevue shines in fastpitch and lacrosse action

Bellevue fastpitch hurler Rachel Treves fires away during the Wolverines’ 11-1 victory… Continue reading

Photos by Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
King County Council approves $631 million emergency COVID budget

Staff reports The King County Council approved a seventh round of emergency… Continue reading

Flames attack the hillside in Bonney Lake on Sept. 8, 2020. (East Pierce Fire & Rescue photo)
WA firefighters brace for potentially busy weekend

Washington state Department of Natural Resources firefighters were preparing for what could… Continue reading

Most Read