Grading, Promotion and Retention

Grading, Promotion and Retention: Coronavirus (COVID–19) FAQ

On March 12, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton ordered all Ohio’s public, community and private K-12 school buildings to be closed to students due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) state of emergency. This document is intended to help school districts as they make a good faith effort to best determine, to the extent practicable, how to issue grades and provide feedback to students in alignment with their local board of education grading policies.  

How should school districts approach grading and assigning year-end grades to students? 

Districts and schools should try to make a good faith effort, within available capabilities, to support continued learning outside of school and determine how best to issue grades and provide feedback to students during the coronavirus-related ordered school-building closure. Districts may choose to use traditional letter grades, opt for a pass/fail/incomplete approach or utilize a standards-based/mastery approach to report learning.  

Teachers should play the primary role in making grading decisions regarding student performance. Teachers should consider the totality of the student’s performance on the course or grade-level curriculum as it was delivered during the entire school year, including prior to the ordered school-building closure as well as during the closure period. Teacher decisions also should be made in alignment with school district policies and superintendent/principal direction. Decisions should be made with recognition of the context of the ordered school-building closure.  

Student grades are one data point that impacts promotion and retention decisions, grade point averages, local recognitions (such as National Honor Society), National Collegiate Athletic Association eligibility, college admissions and scholarship opportunities to name a few. School districts should consider the impact of reporting letter grades as opposed to pass/fail grades, especially for high school students.  

Decisions about determining final grades should be made in collaboration with school district leaders and teacher leaders based on the local school community and student needs. The state is relying on the professionalism, fairness and reasonable judgment of principals and educators in making determinations relative to the assignment of grades to students. 


How should school districts approach promotion and retention of students? 

For decisions related to the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, see the separate information document found here

Teachers and principals should make decisions to promote or retain students while keeping the best interest of the child in mind. If, in the judgement of the teacher and principal, a student is prepared, given the student’s demonstration of knowledge and skills in the particular context of the ordered school-building closure to participate successfully in the next higher grade, then the child should be promoted. The general standards for promotion decisions should be discussed jointly between a school’s teachers, counselors, principal and parents.  

The state is relying on the professionalism, fairness and reasonable judgment of principals and educators in making determinations relative to the appropriate promotion and retention of students.   

Last Modified: 4/22/2020 1:37:22 PM