On April 16, LAUSD announced a new grading policy to parents and students amid school closures, which will last for the remainder of this academic year, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The policy states the following:
Students will not receive a lesser grade than their grade as of March 13, 2020.
No Fs shall be issued for a 15-week or final semester mark.
Teacher discretion to give students a higher grade based on a communicated grading policy. If a teacher’s grading policy initially communicated at the beginning of the syllabus has changed as a result of a remote learning environment, the updated teacher policy should be communicated in writing to parents and students electronically.
Teacher should not assign a mark of “D,” unless the following steps are implemented:
Contact the student and family to provide additional opportunities for the student to turn in assignments or make-up work and to discuss needed academic support
Collaborate with an academic counselor or student support personnel to provide additional support as needed
Consult with the site administrator or designee.
A key factor that played a role in the district’s no-fail decision was the concern over the ability of all students to access and benefit from the school’s online learning environment, despite schools, including Venice, providing students with Chromebooks and Verizon providing unlimited internet to students without access.
“Many of the examples we see of successful video learning have a significant selection bias,” said LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner, who gave examples of “affluent families with resources at home, schools with years of training and limitless budgets and students with demonstrated aptitude to learn independently. Public schools have in their DNA the commitment to serve all students, irrespective of circumstance, and it will not be so simple.”
Many students seemed to be relieved about the new grading policy.
“I think that the new grading policy is another window open for opportunity and I am grateful for it,” said a Venice sophomore. “It is a good chance for struggling students to catch up with their grades.”
“I think it’s good that teachers are helping struggling kids out with their grades,” said sophomore Anthony Estrada. “Not many kids get a chance like that at school.”
However, others were a little more concerned than relieved.
“I don’t really like it because people start slacking off since their grades won’t drop below what they had before and they can’t really fail either,” said sophomore Jackie Huang. “But it’s good that teachers are giving us chances to improve our grades.”
As district leaders continue to plan the next steps to reopen schools, all students can do is adjust to their new learning environment and hope that the district will make the right decision.
Link to the official grading policy