Douglas County school districts drop 'F' from report cards

Students can receive pass/no-pass grades instead.

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Douglas County school districts are tweaking report cards this spring to account for the move to distance learning, using a blend of traditional letter grades and compassion.

Superior School District

Secondary students in grades six through 12 will receive a regular report card, without the letter grade "D" or "F." The modified grading plan includes A, B, C and, for students who are struggling with online learning, COVID-Pass and COVID-No Pass.

“One of the benefits of the plan we decided on is that it does not disadvantage any one group of students,” said Director of Curriculum and Instruction Crystal Hintzman. “Our students who excel and are continuing to do so during this at-home learning time will still receive letter grades and GPA that they can use for post-secondary and scholarship needs in the future, and our students that are struggling will receive support through the pass or no-pass.”

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Teachers, principals and counselors collaborated to determine if a student received the pass or no-pass option, Hintzman said. The district will offer summer school options for high school students who need credit recovery courses.

Elementary students in kindergarten through grade five will receive an end of the year report card as usual, but instead of a separate grade for each individual standard under a content area, they will receive an overall grade for each content area — language arts, math, social studies, science, art, music and physical education.

“This is a very challenging time for students, families and staff, and we wanted to make a plan that was as supportive as possible for all involved, while still honoring the hard work our students and families are doing during this at-home learning time,” Hintzman said.

Solon Springs

The Solon Springs School District will also use a blend of traditional grades with a pass/no-pass option that won't affect the student’s GPA. The district also opted to issue an in-progress grade to ensure students have ample time and support to submit assignments.

“This was a difficult process, and at all times we built in support for all learning styles as well as individual learning needs,” said Solon Springs Principal Dene Muller.

Ongoing support via distance learning will continue during summer school and into the fall to allow students who received an in-progress grade time for credit recovery or coursework completion. Muller said the district will also include an explanation on each student transcript to document the COVID-19 grading modifications.


Maple teachers extended due dates and assessed fewer assignments this spring, according to District Administrator Sara Croney.

“We are doing letter grades but with compassion,” she said. “There are no Fs.”


Instead, teachers had the option to give students a grade of NC iIn grades three through eight, which stands for no count; Northwestern High School students could receive a grade of NG, or no grade.

"However, we are trying to create a code that reflects the COVID impact for the fourth term grade," said NHS Principal Mark Carlson.

By utilizing these, Croney said, the grading does not hurt a student's GPA.

“We feel this is the best for students to reflect what they did,” Croney said. “Those that did ‘A’ work are being acknowledged for all the extra work it takes to get that high grade, rather than a ‘pass’ which equates to a D-.”

Carlson said that 'pass' typically equates to a D-, but even those rules are being relaxed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association due to the pandemic to simply mean pass without a grade penalty.

This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. on June 1 to correct information about Superior School District's grading policy, and at 2:45 p.m. June 1 with information from Northwestern High School Principal Mark Carlson. It was originally posted at 1 p.m. May 31.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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