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2420 High School Grade and Credit Marking

It is the policy of the Seattle School Board that its high school students receive grades and credits in a manner that is understandable, accurate, and consistent across the District.

  1. Grades

The District shall employ a uniform eleven-point weighted grading system at the high school level, awarding the following marks:

A ,  A- ,   B+ ,   B ,   B- ,   C+ ,   C ,   C- ,   D+ ,   D ,   E ,  

A “D” mark is the lowest passing grade; an “E” mark indicates failure. The Superintendent or the Superintendent’s designee shall establish and post a Seattle School District Uniform Grading Scale, which details the corresponding percentage grade range for each of the eleven grade marks. The Seattle Public Schools transcripts show official grade point averages (GPAs), as mandated by state law.

Honors courses receiving an additional .5 Quality Point and courses eligible to receive college credit from an accredited institution, such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, College in the High School and Running Start courses receiving an additional 1.0 Quality Point. Quality Points are used to calculate District weighted GPA, but per state law, may not be used to calculate official GPA. The marks of “P”, “N”, “W”, and “I” may be used only under specific circumstances in the manner set forth in the K-12 School Counseling Manual.

Students may retake courses in-district to attempt to earn a higher grade. If a student retakes a course to attempt to earn a higher grade, only the highest grade received will be counted towards the student’s grade point average. However, a record of all classes taken, including the grades received, will remain on the student’s transcript and the student will receive credit towards graduation for only one of the courses.

  1. Credits
    1. Students will be awarded high school academic credit for successful completion of a specified unit of study. Successful completion of a specified unit of study means the following:
      1. Earning a passing grade in a district-approved course, according to the district’s relevant grading policies or Counseling Services Manual provision; and/or
      2. Demonstrating competency and proficiency; and/or
      3. Successfully completing an established number of hours of any planned alternative instructional activities as determined by the district; and/or
      4. Successfully meeting the credit-earning requirements specified in Superintendent Procedure 2024SP, Policy 2409, and/or Policy 2413.
    1. High school courses taken during middle school will be treated as follows:
      1. Beginning with courses taken during the 2019-20 school year, unless a student and the student’s family request otherwise, any high school course completed in a District middle school shall be counted as high school credit, added to the high school transcript (including the grade earned), and applied to fulfilling high school graduation requirements. Courses taken prior to the 2019-20 school year may be added to high school transcripts upon request.
      2. The course in the middle school must meet or exceed the requirements for the same high school course and be on the Seattle Public Schools approved course list. For a middle school course to be counted as equivalent to a high school course, it must be taught by a teacher qualified to teach the course at the high school level.

        Middle schools that wish to offer alternative learning experiences, such as an online or computer based program at the high school level, overseen by school staff, must contact the Department of Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction for approval.

      3. Beginning with courses taken during the 2019-20 school year, unless a student and the student’s family request otherwise, any high school level course completed at a District high school by a middle school student shall be counted as high school credit, added to the high school transcript (including the grade earned), and applied to fulfilling high school graduation requirements. The academic level of the course must exceed the requirements for middle school, and the course must be on the Seattle Public Schools approved course list. Courses taken prior to the 2019-20 school year may be added to high school transcripts upon request.
      4. Courses taken outside of Seattle Public Schools during the middle school grades are subject to the following conditions:
        • Courses already on a student’s transcript when the student transfers to Seattle Public Schools, or for which the family provides a transcript and verification of existing policy allowing this credit from the student’s previous district, may be added to the Seattle Public Schools transcript for high school credit. Families must follow the process referenced in the Counseling Services Manual.
        • Courses taken outside of Seattle Public Schools by actively enrolled students are subject to Superintendent Procedure 2024SP.
    1. Credit Recovery
      1. Students who meet the graduation standard in a state graduation pathway, excluding the Career and Technical Education pathway and Armed Services Vocational Aptitude pathway, may recover credit for previously failed courses as described below:
        • Math: Students may recover one-half (.5) credit for a previously failed Algebra 1 (or equivalent) or Geometry (or equivalent) course. Students with Individual Education Plans may recover credit for alternative courses.
        • Language Arts: Students may recover one-half (.5) Language Arts credit for a previously failed 9th or 10th grade required Language Arts course.
      1. Science: Starting with the class of 2020, students may recover one-half (.5) science credit for a previously failed 9th or 10th grade science course by meeting proficiency on the state summative assessment or a state approved alternative.
      2. In all of the situations outlined above, unique course codes will be created and will substitute for a course that was previously failed. Failed courses remain on transcript.
    1. Grade and Credit Changes
    2. A grade and/or credit change can only be made by the teacher of record for the specific course at issue or by the Principal of the school where the course was taken and the change is being requested due to either a math error or bias. If the student has left the school where the course at issue was taken, any grade and/or credit change by either the teacher of record or the Principal must be reviewed and approved with signature by a director of schools P-12.

    1. Promotion and Retention
    2. High school grade level standing is determined by a combination of credit attainment and/or chronology and, in the case of Home Based Instruction students, age. After each semester, standing will be updated according to the following table:

      Grade Level Promotion Criteria

      Grade 9 Successful Promotion from 8th, 0.00-5.99 credits Grade 10 6.0-11.99 credits or completion of one year of high school Grade 11 12-17.99 credits or completion of two years of high school Grade 12 18* credits or completion of three years of high school.

      *15 credit promotion applies for students in the classes of 2016-2020. For students in the class of 2021 and beyond, senior promotion will occur when 18 credits have been earned.

      Being placed at a given grade level does not eliminate the need to complete all local and state graduation requirements if a student is attempting to earn a diploma through Seattle Public Schools.

    1. High School Enrollment for Home Based Instruction Students
    2. Students for whom a “Declaration of Intent to Home School” form is on file with Seattle Public School shall be enrolled in high school according to the following schedule:

      • Freshman/9th grade if age 14 by August 31 of the year wishing to enroll
      • Sophomore/10th grade if age 15 by August 31 of the year wishing to enroll
      • Junior/11th grade if age 16 by August 31 of the year wishing to enroll
      • Senior/12th grade if age 17 by August 31 of the year wishing to enroll

      Students will be assigned the appropriate grade level during the enrollment process. Being placed at a given grade level does not eliminate the need to complete all graduation requirements if the student is attempting to earn a diploma through Seattle Public Schools.

    1. Running Start
    2. A student must have attained at least Junior/11th grade status in order to enroll in Running Start, per the Running Start regulations. For the purposes of Running Start enrollment only, a student may be considered a Junior/11th grade either by reaching age 16 and placing into 100-level or credit-earning college classes through the college placement exam. The college placement exam is given at the community colleges and students are responsible for paying the exam fee.

      The Superintendent or the Superintendent’s designee(s) shall maintain the Counseling Services Manual as the administrative procedures that further implement this Policy.