Katy ISD Removes Its D Letter Grade

Is your child stressed out about school and grades? If so, they’re not alone. According to statistics from the National Institutes of Mental Health, 31.9% of all adolescents in the United States have an anxiety disorder. Even kids who haven’t been diagnosed with anxiety can experience intense stress when dealing with homework, standardized testing, and report cards.

As you might expect, parents and educators have been working to devise ways of helping children and teenagers cope with school-related stress. The Katy Independent School District has come up with a unique solution they think will help: eliminating the “D” grade from kids’ report cards.

An Update to the Grading System

Prior to the recently announced changes, letter grades in the Katy ISD were as follows:

  • 90% and above was an A
  • 80% to 89% was a B
  • 75 to 79% was a C
  • 70 to 74% was a D

When the new grading system is implemented in the 2019-2020 school year, students’ whose grades fall into the 70% to 74% range will receive a grade of C-. And, in three years’ time, all grades in the 70% to 79% range will be marked as a C.

Katy ISD’s Deputy Superintendent, Leslie Haack, said of the new grading system:

I think the students do put a lot of pressure on themselves and I think they sometimes engage in some unhealthy competition in trying to earn that certain GPA. Whereas, we would rather them approach their high school career with balance in mind.

While these changes are new to Katy, other school districts in the United States have implemented similar changes with success.

New Class Ranking System

Of course, letter grades are not the only source of stress and competition for kids in school. Katy is also making changes in the way they announce class rankings to students with an eye toward reducing their stress.

In the old system, every student learned their class rank by number. With the new system, only students who are in the top 10% of the class will get a number ranking. Students outside of the top 10 will receive only a quartile ranking, as follows:

  • Top 25%
  • Top 50%
  • Top 75%
  • Bottom 25%

Dr. Christine Caskey says of the new ranking system:


The quartile ranking is beneficial to both the students and the campuses as it acknowledges success, while also allowing more latitude and anonymity within the parameters of each quartile.

It is worth noting that the quartile ranking aligns with what Texas state colleges do when evaluating students for admission. They don’t review the numerical rank of students, instead relying on a quartile and other factors, including GPA, test scores, extracurricular activities and volunteerism.

With the new school year already underway, individual schools in the Katy ISD will review the new grading and ranking systems with parents and students to ensure that everybody understands them. Students currently beginning their freshman, sophomore, and junior years will see the ranking changes take effect this school year.


Students can learn more effectively at school when they’re not stressed out and focused on letter grades and class rankings. Katy ISD’s new policies should help area children get the education they need with less anxiety than before.   Check out our Katy self storage options 

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