California High Schools Phase Out ‘D’ and ‘F’ Grades for Students
Student given another chance with grades
Several California district high schools are dropping the use of “D” and “F” grades in an effort to boost entry into the state’s public colleges.
Those planning to phase out “D” and “F” grades for high school students include:
- Los Angeles Unified
- Oakland Unified
- Sacramento City Unified
- San Diego Unified
If students don't finish their homework or fail a test, they are given another chance to retake the test or receive an extension.
Nidya Baez, assistant principal at Fremont High in Oakland Unified, said:
“Our hope is that students begin to see school as a place of learning, where they can take risks and learn from mistakes, instead of a place of compliance."
“Right now, we have a system where we give a million points for a million pieces of paper that students turn in, without much attention to what they’re actually learning,” Baez said.
As The New York Post reported:
Advocates see the new grading policy as especially vital given that grades plummeted during virtual learning that took place over the pandemic, particularly among black, hispanic, and low-income students.
They also hope it will allow young scholars to absorb the coursework sans getting disqualified from being admitted to the University of California and other state schools over a sub-par mark.
Nonetheless, many local educators were not too fond of the competency-based learning initiative, which they suggested prioritized feelings over academic success.
“I will never lie about [students’] knowledge level,” said Debora Rinehart, a math and science teacher at St. Theresa School, a Catholic school in Oakland.
“Not reporting ‘D’s and ‘F’s is the equivalent of lying about a student’s progress.”
The board director of Oakland Unified School District, Sam Davis, told ABC News that the “D” grade should be dropped, but students should still be given the appropriate grade if they fail.
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“D grades are not valid for college eligibility at UC and Cal State, but obviously if students don’t master the material, they shouldn’t be getting credit for the class, then they would be getting an F,” Davis told ABC in a Dec. 9 interview.
Alix Gallagher, director of strategic partnerships and policy analysis for California Education highlighted the importance of “rapid specific feedback” to help students improve.
“But for some teachers, Ds and Fs play an important role in the classroom,” NBC reported.
“They signal that a student did not learn the material and needs extra help.
"Dropping Ds and Fs doesn’t guarantee that students will learn the material, even with extra help, and may lead to grade inflation, said Debora Rinehart, a math and science teacher at St. Theresa School, a Catholic school in Oakland.”