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No 'F' grades allowed for Washington students during COVID-19 pandemic under new policy

Washington state students will not get any "F" grades during the coronavirus pandemic but could receive an incomplete and have options to complete the course later.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — As teachers, parents, and students continue to navigate their new world of remote learning due to the coronavirus pandemic, questions have been raised about how to grade student work during this time. 

Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal outlined new guidance on grading high school students during the coronavirus pandemic in a YouTube video on Tuesday night.

He also released a copy of the new guidelines during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. 

Under the framework, high school students will receive either a grade or an incomplete for the spring semester, although it will be up to school districts whether they want to grade on an A through D system or an A through B system, for example. However, there will not be any F grades.

“We honor the fact that right now some students are just not able to connect to the learning, and they shouldn’t be held back or be harmed by that,” Reykdal said.

Washington will also not have a pass/fail or credit/no credit system during the pandemic, because Reykdal said there was concern about deciding whether a student who was excelling in a concept should get the same mark as a student who was struggling and on the cusp of failing.

Students can also make up incomplete grades later, and spring semester transcripts will include an indicator that the grade was earned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: 'This isn't really normal': Families share challenges of remote learning during Washington's corornavirus crisis

Students in grades K-8 will be challenged to "demonstrate effort and success in learning standards established by their teachers," according to the new guidelines. 

Reykdal said students in K-8 grades will move on to the next grade unless there is a mutual agreement between the parents and teacher that the student needs to repeat the grade or a portion of it due to missed learning. 

"This is a very complex problem, and I am incredibly grateful to the parents, students, and educators across the state who offered their ideas and input," said Reykdal in the document released Wednesday.

RELATED: Seattle high school students to get 'A' or 'Incomplete' in temporary grading change