Student Grading Update

Student Grading Update

May 14, 2020 Update:

Thank you for your thoughtful feedback regarding our high school grading plan during this unprecedented time. The 1,979 responses to our public comment survey reflected overwhelming support for our A or Incomplete approach. This underscores our community’s commitment to equity during this historic suspension of in-person education.

Going forward, high school teachers will continue to provide ongoing feedback to students and families regarding progress made towards mastering essential learning standards, and the level of engagement during distance learning. At the end of this grading period, students who were able to complete their assignments to the extent possible given their situation will receive an “A” on their transcript. If not, students would receive an “Incomplete” and be given the opportunity to re-engage in the learning standards.

Students will be able to access Summer School opportunities to re-engage. They would also have until the beginning of the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year to re-engage. Students will have access to credit recovery software (APEX), ability to demonstrate mastery by passing a course final, or passing the next sequential courses. High school students will not be “held back” if they receive an Incomplete due to the shutdown. Rather, they will work with their counselors and administrators to recover any missed credits and stay on track for graduation.

WSD teachers and administrators are currently discussing K-8 grading during Distance Learning. At this point, teachers will continue to provide ongoing feedback to students and families regarding progress made towards mastering essential learning standards, and the level of engagement during distance learning. Decisions regarding end-of-year report cards are forthcoming. We expect that most of our students will move on to the next grade level when school resumes next year.


April 29, 2020 

Grading practices for the remainder of the year will look very different than they traditionally might were we in traditional school. This current health crisis is requiring us all to think differently about what we have always done as we work to develop solutions and systems that will accommodate for the teaching and learning challenges that our students and staff are currently facing during this pandemic. Throughout this process, we have considered the needs of our students, staff and families in determining the most reasonable possible solution for our students. We are also engaged in thoughtful collaboration with our leadership, School Board and staff.  Below is an outline of the guidance on grading that we have received from OSPI, considerations and our current position on student grading for our district. We invite the our stakeholders to weigh in on this topic during a public comment period by taking a brief survey now through May 8th.

Grading Explanation From Wenatchee Superintendent Dr. Paul Gordon 

STUDENT GRADING
Current Guidance from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction 

  • Do no harm!
  • No student will receive a “pass,” “fail,” or “no credit” grade for any course.
  • Teachers will assign grades or assign an “incomplete” for students that cannot engage in an equitable way.  However, “F’s” will not be an option. 
  • Students assigned an “incomplete” for a course will be given opportunities to re-engage in the learning standards.
  • Every class taken during the closure period will be given a statewide designator on the high school transcript to denote the unique environment in which the course was taken

Considerations

  • At the end of this grading period, students who were able to complete their assignments to the extent possible given their situation would receive an “A”.  If not, students would receive an “Incomplete” and be given the opportunity to re-engage in the learning standards.  
  • Traditional grading practices may expand opportunity gaps and lack relevance.
  • Without the equalizing force of the school building and its services, we might actually be grading access to technology, wifi, food, housing, security, etc.  
  • There is the potential for long-term negative consequences for our students related to college acceptance, scholarships, access to college majors, military recruitment, etc. 

Wenatchee School District’s Approach to Grading
After careful review of the state guidance, evaluation of equity, and thoughtful discussion with teachers and administrators, we will adopt an “A” or incomplete grading approach.

  • “A” or incomplete ensures that students aren’t penalized because they have fewer advantages at home than other students have. 
  • Is aligned with OSPI’s guidance and supported by the Association of Washington State Principals (AWSP)
  • Is consistent with Eastmont, Seattle, N. Kitsap, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Bellingham school Districts
  • It does no harm and is equitable.
  • It is a simple and humane solution during an unprecedented time.

------ April 23, 2020 --------

We are finalizing our grading plan for the duration of the shutdown.  Our approach will follow the guidance from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction that was released on April 21.  The full guidance document can be found here.  

Here is a summary:
This guidance and subsequent rule adoption will focus on the following framework:
Students in grades K–8 will be challenged to demonstrate effort and success in learning standards established by their teachers. Students will move on to the next grade, unless by mutual agreement between parents/guardians and teachers they agree to repeat a grade or a portion of learning missed. Districts will retain complete decision-making on middle school grading practices for students not taking high school credit-bearing courses.
Grades 9–12 and middle school students taking credit-bearing high school level work will be graded using the following principles:

  • Do no harm!
  • Every student will get an opportunity to improve their grade with their March 17 status as a baseline.
  • No student will receive a “pass,” “fail,” or “no credit” grade for any course.
  • Teachers will assign grades or assign an “incomplete” for students that cannot engage in an equitable way.
  • Every class taken during the closure period will be given a statewide designator on the high school transcript to demote the unique environment in which the course was taken.
  • Students assigned an “incomplete” for a course will be given opportunities to re-engage in the learning standards based on local school district decisions in consultation with the student/parents/guardians, including but not limited to:
    • Summer school,
    • Courses in the following term or year,
    • Independent study,
    • Competency-based courses,
    • Online courses, or
    • Backfilling the incomplete grade with the letter grade obtained in the next course taken in that subject area.
  • All students will be given an opportunity to engage in continuous learning to maintain or improve their mastery of essential standards.

This statewide framework will create more consistency across the state, but districts will still decide which letter grade system to use. However, “F’s” will not be an option.