Some local districts move to "pass/fail" grading; others wait for Governor direction

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PERRYSBURG, Ohio (WTVG - As the fight against the coronavirus continues, it isn't clear yet what Ohio Governor Mike DeWine will decide about the school year.

Districts around the state are preparing to finish online. Locally, changes includes modifying grading scales to fit the current situation.

District leaders with Perrysburg Schools said from the start their number one priority has been to remain empathetic and compassionate toward students and families during this crisis. That's why leaders feel moving to pass/fail grading is the right thing to do for their community.

"Why wait? Even if we come back in May we have had 5, 6, 7 weeks of home learning," said Brent Swartzmiller, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning at Perrysburg Schools.

Starting Monday, students in grades 6-12 at Springfield Local Schools will also go to a pass/fail grading system.

In Sylvania, high school students will still receive letter grades, but those in junior high are also moving to pass/fail grading.

Toledo Public Schools are considering and reviewing a number of options related to end of year grades. District leaders said the plan is to bring a resolution forward at the next virtual board meeting on April 27th.

Perrysburg is making the switch to pass/fail grading for the 4th quarter for all students grades 5 and up.

"They're not going to be penalized. If anything they're going to benefit from this because a pass is going to look like an 'A,'" said Swartzmiller.

The district estimates about 90 percent of students have been completing their work. As for the other 10 percent, school leaders said it's a mix of missing assignments and having trouble coping with the "new normal."

"The other factor is we could have some kiddos out there whose lives have been turned upside down, and why are we then the hammer to them? Why wouldn't we be support?" said Swartzmiller.

Perrysburg Schools believe the previous "A-F" grading scale wouldn't necessarily be a reflection of what students know, but perhaps a reflection of their circumstance.

"I hate to say fail because it is 'in progress' versus 'fail' because we're going to give students every opportunity that we can to get work in and show that they can get a pass," said Swartzmiller.

Governor DeWine is expected to discuss end of the school year plans this week, and at Perrysburg, even if students do go back -- the pass/fail grading system will stick.