New School Grading Policy?

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By an edhat reader

This week the Santa Barbara Unified School Board met and discussed a new grading policy where students would receive an "incomplete" or "no credit" instead of a D or F.

As a parent, I feel this is a great idea as virtual learning (and parental teaching at times) has been extremely stressful and frustrating. I'm curious what other parents feel about this.

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sacjon Jan 09, 2021 02:39 PM
New School Grading Policy?

I saw that too. When I first heard about it, I thought they were going to do a pass/no pass thing again, which would have been absurd. As long as my kids, who are working their butts off despite the inadequacies of zoom-school, can still get their A's or 4s, then I guess it's OK. I hate to say it, but I know lots of kids will take advantage of the no fail policy to come out with C's for doing nothing. Then again, many will also benefit by not being penalized for circumstances out of their control that lead to poor performance. Again though, as long as those who are working hard are still able to be recognized academically, then fine by me.

Basicinfo805 Jan 09, 2021 03:05 PM
New School Grading Policy?

I feel it's a real cop out by the district. No one left behind? They will be in the long run if they aren't learning enough the get even a C grade but yet are given one. Not surprised at all though. The schools want to run 'em through more than anything else it seems. To their credit, some teachers actually spoke up in opposition to the district's plan for this change. I understand the author's point that Zoom isn't working for his/her kids, because it doesn't for anyone. We bailed on our public school because we saw the Zoom writing on the wall that teachers weren't coming back this year (unless maybe for a few special needs kids, disadvantaged English-learners, etc). Yeah you'll hear from various parents that say oh Zoom's great my kids are getting it all done, etc. Translation: they're blowing through a bunch of busywork and likely not learning what they should be.

a-1610235132 Jan 09, 2021 03:32 PM
New School Grading Policy?

How exactly does getting a D or F do a single positive thing for a student's education, especially in the current environment? It doesn't. Virtual learning caters to the priveleged, who more often than not have tons of help at home. Right now, giving out Ds and Fs is a poor tax aimed at children. By and large, these underachieving students just do not have the parental support, for a number of reasons. All a D or F does to these students, who may be trying their best during these trying times, is tell them that they aren't good enough. Not good for already struggling kids' psyches or futures. Traditional grading has been shown over and over again to widen the achievement gap. Using it during virtual learning is irresponsible and cruel. Have some compassion for the less fortunate CHILDREN - we are not talking about adults here. Your subconscious need to see the socioeconomically affected student population fail is sad and shortsighted. They are kids going through the same pandemic we are. Give them a break.

dukemunson Jan 09, 2021 06:06 PM
New School Grading Policy?

It’s almost like we should have... I don’t know...KEPT KIDS IN SCHOOL... no? Current Option A is many are failing.. so current option B is just pass everyone and make failing impossible... well played school District...

yacht rocked Jan 09, 2021 03:15 PM
New School Grading Policy?

Clever way to raise all of the average class grades at every SB school - just average all the grades between A and C and toss out the rest because they are incomplete or no grade. Wow, look at how the schools have improved across the board. Pay raises for all! ;)

hz Jan 09, 2021 05:41 PM
New School Grading Policy?

I think the intent is for the children who might fail out with D and F grades, is that they get to repeat the class..or withdraw from that class...not so very different from SBCC grading system...not much different from summer school..having a chance to retake the class and the test.. I see this as a good thing. YES! distance learning may go on for quite some time to come. emedial classes will expand at higher age levels...if the pandemic goes on for two years, quite possible, or longer..then our school systems need to adjust. I am all in favor. I wouls also like to see many more smaller classes...10 students per teacher would really be able to provide quality education.

Friendsb Jan 09, 2021 06:12 PM
New School Grading Policy?

In the article on the Noozhawk website dated Jan 5, 2021 and entitled “Santa Barbara School Board Says Teachers Will Be Given a Voice on Grade-Change Policy”, students would earn an A, B, C, an incomplete or no credit. A student who takes an incomplete would have until June 2 to perform “specific learning tasks,” which would convert the incomplete to an A, B or C.

It is important to read and understand the whole article. It does not imply that a student will be given a C if not earned. There are a lot of issues related to this whole topic, but it would appear that if all secondary Fall 2020 students, currently earning a D or F, choose to agree to a contract to bring their grade up by June 2; then teachers will still have 30% of their Fall 2020 students on top of the full load of new students and classes for Spring 2021 thru June 2. What happens in the summer for Spring 2021 students if they are getting a D or F? How long will they have to up their grade?

Students are experiencing set backs due to COVID and distance learning. But it is still true that our school district AP, SAT, and ACT scores have been declining in recent years before COVID.

Governor Brown cancelled the California High School Exit Exam requirement because as high as 15% of high school students in CA could not pass the exit exams to graduate given 3 or more tries, even having gotten passing grades from their teachers in order to graduate. They could not get their high school diplomas. The English section tested students at a 10th-grade level, and required a score of 60% to pass; the mathematics section tested students at an 8th-grade level, and required a score of 55% to pass. So the exit exam is not required as of 2018.

There was a large percentage of students that graduated from SBUSD, that attended SBCC and immediately needed to take remedial Math and English courses just to be able to take basic SBCC classes. According to an article in the Santa Barbara Independent on Dec 14, 2018, entitled “SBCC Scrapping Remedial Class Requirement”, 60% of incoming SBCC students were placed in remedial Math or English courses. Then Governor Brown stopped community colleges from requiring remedial courses, after placement tests, with Assembly Bill 705 (effective fall 2019). It will be interesting to see what impact this has on students in the coming years (COVID aside).

If you Google how CA K-12 public schools compare both nationwide and internationally, we don’t fare that well. The COVID pandemic and distance learning is not going to help that. Having said that we have some of the highest ranking public universities in the world, in our UC System.

Ahchooo Jan 10, 2021 07:56 AM
New School Grading Policy?

Thanks, FriendSB, for your comment. I don’t follow school info much, so this was interesting to me.

Voice of Reason Jan 10, 2021 11:07 AM
New School Grading Policy?

But the Democrats have controlled every aspect of California for decades, it simply can't be true that their policies aren't working. Other states must have lowered their standards further, that's the only explanation why California's public school system isn't ranked one of the top in the nation.

sbjoe Jan 09, 2021 08:00 PM
New School Grading Policy?

I think it is a terrible idea. It's basically administrators who do not like the D/F rate coming up with a way to lower it. Just don't give any D or Fs. Simple! The main problem most students are having is not a lack of time- its a lack of motivation (and supervision). If they have all Fall to do work with a teacher reminding them, begging them to do the work, what are chances they will suddenly make up all their old work (while taking a bunch of new classes)? I'm going to say right around zero.

Frankly, the policy is a bit offensive to me. Administrators are pushing teachers to have students to just make up a few "key" assignments instead of all (or most) the work they missed. It makes passing a class just a hoop to jump through instead of what it should be- a journey to master a subject. I hope it dies at the next board meeting.

sbdude Jan 09, 2021 08:08 PM
New School Grading Policy?

Why is the board coming out with this a week before the end of the semester? Seems pretty top-down and arbitrary to me. And who was calling for this change? I understand teachers don't want it. Did the the students demand it? Parents? Did anybody really go to the board and say, "you need to make it easier for kids to pass their classes"?

a-1610296389 Jan 10, 2021 08:33 AM
New School Grading Policy?

It seems consistent with the thinking in this era of "participation trophies" for all instead of trophies for only the winners. If one can't meet the standards then change the standards.

Shasta Guy Jan 10, 2021 08:59 AM
New School Grading Policy?

Public education in California is over ripe for reform. If they were a business, they’d lose their license and the work given to their competitors. I love this state, and I love all my teacher friends, but the education situation just is not working.

TheKid5 Jan 10, 2021 09:29 AM
New School Grading Policy?

An Open Letter to Laura Capps-

I would appreciate a written defense of your position and I believe that others would like your explanation as well. I am convinced that this is one of the worst ideas to come out of your office. It will give kids a mandated excuse to fail! How are they going to make up for the subjects that they receive no grade in? Who is going to tutor them? When will the subjects be made up? How will this be paid for?

We have many good teachers, but we also have lousy ones. Too many Mexican kids and others have had the opportunity to slide in school and your proposal will only make it worse.

You are not trained in, nor do you have a Ph.D in education. You are a product of the liberal side of the Democratic Party who has led a privileged life. Your upbringing is far removed from the Mexican kids that you want to saddle with a No Grade learning system.

I spoke no English until I entered Kindergarten. I went to high school for mornings only. My dad died when I was 16 and I had to go to work to support our family. I worked six hour days and 8 hours Saturdays. I never went to college. I taught at SBCC with a credential.

All this said, I will be happy to debate the bad idea that you are supporting anytime and anywhere.

In business, accomplishment is paid by satisfaction and money. Your proposal will strip kids of any satisfaction they get from learning or incentive to learn and pass: A report card grade without any measure of accomplishment or failure!

Your job is to see that kids learn and get passing grades, not to make excuses for your system's failure to teach them using a No Grade system.

At its core, it is racist!

surfbum Jan 10, 2021 09:49 AM
New School Grading Policy?

Emulating the Lake Wobegon standard where all the children are above average.

Ahchooo Jan 10, 2021 10:39 AM
New School Grading Policy?

It seems that a good argument for this policy is that students should not have their records stained if their poor performance was out of their control. This makes sense to me. I do, however, believe that students need to make up whatever losses occur due to covid. It would be wrong to pass them along as if they had mastered material if they hadn’t actually done so. Some may need to repeat a grade. There should be no shame in that, just as we don’t shame a student who might be set back due to a personal medical crisis. Our schools might need to set up specific classes for students in this situation, so they are not simply put in with younger students.

Watcher237 Jan 10, 2021 10:51 AM
New School Grading Policy?

I'm sorry. But this is just another example of how incompetent, befuddled, and inept our school administration has become over the past 50 years. This is just more of the same.

Almost at a loss to know where to begin... How about this: The soul of education is bound up in the relationship between the student and the teacher. Hire and retain caring, knowledgeable teachers, rely on the parents to send well-behaved, fed and rested students to class, ready to learn. The rest, as they say, is a miracle.

Anyone who cares to look at statistics will see a fixed degrading of academic performance since the early 1960's. What happened? Nobody seems to be looking into that one. The truth hurts. We've even dumbed-down the curriculum 2 or 3 times over the years to try to boost scores. Not happening.

Successful teaching has always been a mutual collaboration between parents and teachers. Each doing their part to help the students succeed. Rebuild the PTA's. And EMPOWER them!

Recognize how many levels of 'oversight' exist in any classroom. Besides the students and teacher, there is the school principal. Then there's the school board. Then there's the County Board of Education. Then there's the State Board of Education. Finally we have the Federal Department of Education. Far, far too many boneheaded cooks in this kitchen!!! Get these pig-headed incompetent fools out of the way and let the teachers teach. Let the parents provide loving homes, with good nutrition, a proper bedtime, and overall, good manners. Watch the miracles return.

a-1610305941 Jan 10, 2021 11:12 AM
New School Grading Policy?

"Let the parents provide loving homes, with good nutrition, a proper bedtime, and overall, good manners. "
Good suggestion. Now, how do you get the parents to do their part? When they do few or none of those things it affects each of the other students in their class.

Lorax Jan 10, 2021 08:51 PM
New School Grading Policy?

This is a new low, didn't know the SB School District could do more damage! Hide the D's & F's they don't want the failure they have created under their nose. It's no wonder that families continue to flee this district in numbers going to private schools and pods, thoes that can afford it.
It was the school board's bad call that they did not apply for waivers the same time all our private schools did that are still in session and were spared zoom classes and all the learning damage as well as phycological stress with their students and families.

How did we end up with these loosers one more time?

In this last Election we lost a chance for positive change to elect new board members., not incumbents .
The teachers are not the problem, they are victims just as the students and their families are.

Many want to recall the Governor, can we recall this incompetent school Board ?

They brought in Hilda Moldanado from the low performing LA school district as a Superintendent even though she has never been a Superintendent previously she had been an assistant Superintendent, a very different position and gave her a salary of 250,000/yr.
The School board is all in bed with this and unanimously supported hireing her. The other bomb they are working on is a plan to teach the Latino children only in Spanish thru primary grades which will put them terribly behind in their English, some may never catch up. This next comming attraction they call META which they intend to put in all schools .
A disproportunately high number of Latino students were flagged as special needs . Upon investigation they found they had been misidentified because they where so behind in their English. Meta is a ideological concept and there are no scores or data to support this will even work. They are finding plenty of money in the budget however for this pet project that will get these kids further behind .
Next step they will get rid of standardized testing, no doubt . How else are they going to compete in providing decent outcomes with mandated testing when there is no way to test students in this new experemental Meta Concept? Acountablity fades futher into the sunset.
Houston, we have a problem. What do we do about it as a community? There is no equity in education in our Santa Barbara K-12 School District nor acountablility with this Board or Administration!

Voice of Reason Jan 11, 2021 09:36 AM
New School Grading Policy?

Lorax, as long as people keep voting based on party affiliation rather than the record, experience, and actions of a candidate (vs. all the smoke they blow just to get elected), this will continue.

a-1610411190 Jan 11, 2021 04:26 PM
New School Grading Policy?

It sounds like the school board is advertising for private schools. Which are the best in this area?

ZeroHawk Jan 11, 2021 09:09 AM
New School Grading Policy?

As a parent with two kids in the system here....i think it's just another log on the pile of the government turning our kids into thin skinned snow flakes that don't even know what gender they are. Forced into doing math with methods that would get you escorted off of a job, and lazy with no drive to succeed...since no one loses...whats the point. there is no motivation and the distant learning is making it worse. there ya go...

sacjon Jan 11, 2021 04:39 PM
New School Grading Policy?

ZERO - maybe speak for yourself. Kids these days, despite zoom school, are demonstrably more motivated that when I was young. I've seen kids doing great things (Pledge Red movement for one) to not only help us get back to normalcy, but to further their own academic and sometimes athletic dreams. Sure, there are always lazy teenagers and kids, but it's up to their parents (not the government) to encourage and keep them moving forward.

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