Written by Natasha Gunion (News Writer)
Ever since this pandemic has come around, San Lorenzo Valley middle school and high school student’s grades have been slipping. To relieve some of the stress off of the students, the California Unified School District has changed the A-F grading system. It has been proven that the amount of students with Ds and Fs has increased since the fall of 2019 by 10%, now leading to 37% of students having at least one failing grade. This new grading system is beneficial to SLV students because it will lower our school’s D-F percentage, and earn the students more high school credits. This will allow for more students to pass classes that they are struggling in.
Teachers have compared students’ grades from before the pandemic (early 2020) to now. This is so that they can see what has changed and what challenges some students are facing. Some teachers have stopped grading participation points, not docking students for missing classes, and not turning in assignments, hoping that this leads to raising the students’ grades. One cause of grades quickly moving down is the lack of access to technology for some students. Now that mostly all schooling is online due to Coronavirus, not all students have easy access to their online classes and school/homework.
The SLV Unified School District has asked teachers to keep homework to a minimum so students are more likely to complete it, and will not have as much trouble making up late/uncompleted work. Teachers are pushing towards accepting work within 5 days of its due date, with no punishment. Teachers are also told to not mark any missing assignments as “zero,” “missing,”, or “incomplete” until completed or excused. Final grades for the quarter or semester will be no lower than the specific student’s grade at the start of this pandemic, or prior to.
“F” grades still exist in the school book, and it is still possible to receive an F grade, but teachers will go to their fullest extent by emailing the parent and student multiple times mentioning the students missing assignments and incomplete work, and offering academic support before putting that final F in the students’ grade report.
Another factor due to the grade change, there was a racial imbalance with the grades. Stating that 7% of failing grades went to White students, 23% went to Hispanics, 20% went to Black Cultured students, and 24% went to Native Americans. Including, 25% of failing grades went to students with disabilities. Teachers felt this was unfair and there needed to be a change. The unified school district agreed, that grades should be based on the material submitted, and not past history, or participation.
With this new grade change in law, is beneficial to SLV students for many reasons. The student D-F percentage will lower, students will hopefully begin to show more compassion for their work, and their passing grades will earn them high school credits, and a pass in the class.