File photo: The Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors approved a temporary grading policy that will apply to all high school students at the end of the 2019-20 year.
File photo: The Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors approved a temporary grading policy that will apply to all high school students at the end of the 2019-20 year.

The Seattle School Board of Directors approved a new temporary grading policy that will apply to all Seattle high school students at the end of the current school year.

The policy temporarily suspends normal grading practices and replaces them with either an “A” or “incomplete.”

This temporary policy will be used by high schools as students' final grades are determined for the spring 2020 semester.

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau said in a press release, the change was necessary because of the challenges presented by the closure of school buildings for the rest of the 2019-20 year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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,” Juneau said in the release.

Administrators developed the policy using the district's racial equity analysis tool to ensure an equitable approach is applied to grading. In the past, grading has been a big source of inequity in education because student performance can be affected by factors beyond a student's control, including access to resources and opportunities outside school,” according to the press release.

Board President Zachary DeWolf said in the press release that he believes this is the best option for the challenges students are facing.

“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,” DeWolf said in the release.

The other temporary grading options that were considered were using “credit” or “no credit”; using regular letter grades; keeping the letter grade as of March 10 with an opportunity to improve; or letting schools and teachers decide.

Details about the new grading policy will be sent to families directly through School Messenger and will also be available in a FAQ on the SPS website.

More information can be found on the SPS website.