Admissions officers from seven colleges and universities recently participated in a panel regarding the Federal Way Public Schools’ grading system. Photo courtesy of FWPS

Admissions officers from seven colleges and universities recently participated in a panel regarding the Federal Way Public Schools’ grading system. Photo courtesy of FWPS

Federal Way school district’s grading system gets stamp of approval

College admissions officers approve district’s standards-based grading practices.

  • Saturday, February 16, 2019 9:30am
  • Opinion

By James Crawford

Chief Academic Officer

After a recent convening that included seven colleges and universities admissions officers, Federal Way Public Schools’ grading system received a stamp of approval. This panel included admissions officers from University of Washington, Western Washington University, Renton Technical College, Green River College, University of Puget Sound, Eastern Washington University and Seattle Colleges.

These college admissions officers enthusiastically approved our standards-based grading practices. According to Shannon Carr, associate vice president for admissions with University of Puget Sound, SBGR “eliminates grade inflation. It makes the grades truer, if you will, so it gives us in some ways a more accurate understanding of the student’s capability and ability.”

Admissions officers shared SBGR helps ensure admissions considerations are focused on a scholar’s experience with rigorous coursework. Karl Smith, associate vice chancellor with University of Washington Tacoma said higher education has an interest in seeing grades as a measure of a student’s academic preparation for success in college, and that often a traditional grading system indicates, “a disconnect between what the student’s foundation was and what we assumed based on that grade.”

Admissions officers also indicated FWPS’ implementation of SBGR supports students’ ambitions for career and college success. They spent time reviewing our curriculum to better understand how rigor aligns to our SBGR system.

Shannon Carr shared, “Federal Way Public Schools [scholars] would be competitive in a collegiate environment. I think what this [SBGR] allows colleges and universities to do is have a really clear and strong understanding of the mastery of each student across subject areas.”

There is data that supports our students’ college and career readiness and entrance into post-secondary institutions. For two consecutive years, FWPS is outperforming the state with the percent of scholars who enroll in two- or four- year college programs.

Our grading system is based on research, input from parents and community, and supported by experts in the field.

We are committed to ensuring our students’ grades accurately reflect their mastery of standards. Check out to learn more about this commitment and attend our next SBGR community forum on Wednesday, March 13, 6-7:30 p.m. at Federal Way High School.

James Crawford is the district’s Chief Academic Officer.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Opinion: Public deserves honest information on sex education

The Washington comprehensive sex education bill passed in the Senate on March 7.

Grocery store staff are working hard to keep the shelves stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic. File photo
Thank you grocery store clerks

Recognizing the sacrifices of our unsung essential workforce.

Federal Way trapped in a ‘Catch 22’

We are mediocre in a region that is rapidly becoming global, educated and economically relevant. We have a mountain to climb.

State of the City

Elections are next year, and with the high profile marketing for the event, the speech always sounds more like a “please vote for me” campaign kick-off.

Welcome to Olympia Mr. Johnson

Sometimes making a law isn’t pretty, and by the time everybody weighs in, that great idea may look completely different.

Mirror’s role in vetting Federal Way Council candidates

The Mirror conducted a background check on all 19 candidates who applied for the Pos. 2 vacancy.

19 want to join Federal Way City Council

The six remaining council members will decide who the new council member will be, and politics will play a role.

South King Fire and Rescue needs to think of public transparency

The “old boy’s club” that is our fire department doesn’t appear all that interested in having the taxpayers, who pay the bill, actually understand what is going.

Exploring Federal Way as a new frontier

Overcoming Federal Way’s general apathy toward exploring itself as a new frontier is essential for shedding the effects of being a hollowed-out corporate company town.

Short legislative session turns left

With a progressive agenda including comprehensive sex education, clean fuel standards and gun violence, Democrats will need to be cautious about overreach.

New state legislator reflects on Federal Way service

“My office and email address may have changed, but my values haven’t.”

Mayor’s style divides Federal Way community

Ferrell’s pattern of behavior is dividing the community in such a negative manner he needs to rethink his entire style if he hopes to be an effective leader.