LAUSD Abruptly Introduces New Grading Policy Preceding End Of Semester

Reading Time: 2 minutes

On Monday, Dec. 14, LAUSD issued a new policy preventing students from receiving failing final grades, as part of their “Road to a C or Better’‘ initiative. 

Teachers were instructed to give students with failing grades an “I,” or incomplete mark. Students will then have until Friday, Jan. 29 to make up missing assignments or complete alternate projects in order to raise their grade for their official transcript, or the grade reverts to an “F.”

“The current grading policy… acknowledges the unprecedented challenges our students are facing while also recognizing their resilience and ability to overcome those challenges with the help of their school community,” said an unnamed spokesperson for the district.

In addition, the policy extends the grading deadline from Friday, Dec. 18 to Tuesday, Dec. 22, giving students and teachers more time to wrap up the semester and finalize grades.

Opinions on the policy varied significantly between different teachers.

Many, like English teacher AnneMarie Di Padova, supported the district’s initiative. 

“I’m always in support of providing students additional opportunities to showcase their progress of learning targets.”

However, assistant principal Lakisha Clark acknowledged that the timing could have been more opportune to make the process less strenuous on students and faculty. 

“The timing is unfortunate,” she said. “This policy should have been put into place between the 10-week and 15-week grading periods to allow each school to put a collaborative plan of action in place to support our students.”

But some, including former UTLA Chapter Chair and music teacher Wendy Sarnoff, were more critical of the policy. 

She expressed frustration at the district’s lack of communication and the meager time window during which teachers are required to complete myriads of additional paperwork using online programs, something that many will have difficulty doing.

“It hit the teachers like a ton of bricks on Monday,” Sarnoff said. 

“Requiring the incomplete form for failing students with five days left in the semester does not meet the test of reasonableness; not for the students, and not for the teachers,” she continued.

“I think it sends the wrong message,” Sarnoff said, “because they’re rewarding students who, in many cases, are choosing to take the path of irresponsibility.”

Sarnoff also voiced concern regarding the balance between academic leniency and the ability for teachers to genuinely assess students’ learning and progress.

“With the advent of online learning and grading platforms, not being able to collect authentic student work and the inability to authentically assess students puts everybody at a disadvantage. There is no accountability for learning.”