HAGERSTOWN — Washington County public schools are bringing back the D.
Twelve years after the school board banned the just-above-failing grade in hopes of motivating marginal students, members voted 6-1 Tuesday to reinstate it, starting next school year, The (Hagerstown) Herald-Mail reported in its Wednesday edition.
Board member Wayne Ridenour called the D a “safety net” for students at risk of failing. When he proposed reinstating it in November, Ridenour said the D provides a cushion for students who don’t test well or fail to turn in homework, even though they may have mastered the subject matter.
The change lowers the threshold for a passing grade from 70 percent to 60 percent.
Ridenour said reinstating the grade will bring Washington County schools in line with other Maryland school districts, including Carroll County, which also experimented with a no-D grading system. The pilot program at North Carroll High School began in 1994 and ended in 2002, Carroll County Public Schools spokeswoman Carey Gaddis told The Associated Press Wednesday.
A Carroll County school administrator said in 2002 that research from the early 1990s suggesting schools could raise standards by eliminating the D grade was eventually disproved.