News

Pleasanton school board approves temporary grading policy

Instead of failing letter grades, middle and high school students may receive Credit/No Credit

The Pleasanton school board unanimously adopted a temporary grading policy at a special online meeting Thursday, allowing secondary students to receive "Credit" or "No Credit" marks instead of low letter grades on their first-semester report card.

Pleasanton Unified School District staff said they "want to make it clear that this is not the hold-harmless policy from last spring," but that the policy would allow students to avoid any immediate negative impact on their grade-point average (GPA) until they could remediate any courses.

With many students struggling with loneliness, isolation and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic and "disengaging from school entirely," assistant superintendent Janelle Woodward called the policy "an opportunity to provide an additional layer of support for students who are struggling the most under these unprecedented circumstances."

Middle and high school students who earn a grade of F during the first semester -- which ended Dec. 18 -- will instead receive no credit, while students with a grade of D will receive a credit mark. In both instances, a CR or NC mark does not impact a student's GPA as negatively as a failing letter grade.

Students with earned grades of A, B or C, and those who earn an extra grade weighting in Advanced Placement or Honors-level courses with a C grade or better, will have their grades upheld.

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The district is working on a plan to help high school students with credit recovery for first-semester courses, as well as for students who received no credit marks and/or to remediate courses with credit marks.

Students will have the chance to replace CR/NC marks with letter grades, according to Woodward, with priority being given this spring to high school seniors who need to retake courses to meet graduation or college admission requirements.

Summer school will also be offered to help high school students earn letter grades for classes that are reflected as CR/NC for core classes.

If graduation requirements are not remediated over the summer, students in grades 9 to 11 will need to retake those courses the following year. Middle school students who receive No Credit for higher level math may also need to retake courses later on.

Last April, the California Department of Education and Board of Education issued grading guidance stating that both letter grades and Credit/No Credit would be accepted for spring of the 2019-20 school year while students and teachers adjusted to remote instruction.

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PUSD has reverted back to its regular grading system since then and observed "a significant increase in the number of Ds and Fs for secondary students," particularly for minority groups.

Though Black and American Indian/Alaska Native students make up a small portion of PUSD's overall racial demographics, of 162 Black students in secondary grades, 30% had a D or F during the first quarter of 2020-21. Of the 26 American Indian or Alaska Native students in secondary school, 73% also had at least one D or F during the first quarter.

Since last year, the number of secondary students with two to four D or F grades has increased from 39.1% to 43.3%.

"What was most concerning to us was to look at the number of students who have 5 or more Ds or Fs," said Pam VandeKamp, district director of assessment and accountability.

That number went from 26 students overall who had 5 or more Ds or Fs, or 1.6% of all secondary students, to 342 students -- or an increase to 18.5%.

In December, site administrators collaborated with staff to develop and implement flexible grading options during the pandemic. These include reducing assignment workloads, accepting late work without penalty, allowing make-ups for missed assignments, and allowing test corrections and retakes.

The deadline for semester one grade submission was also extended to Jan. 12, to allow teachers to make any changes. Final grades should be available on Jan 15.

Ahead of a planned virtual town hall meeting on secondary school reopening this Wednesday (Jan. 13) at 5:30 p.m., PUSD is seeking feedback from families on remote learning in order to provide an updated recommendation to the Board of Trustees soon on students returning to campus.

Last month, the board recommended that secondary campuses reopen after Alameda County is in the red tier for four weeks, and as permitted by public health officials.

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Pleasanton school board approves temporary grading policy

Instead of failing letter grades, middle and high school students may receive Credit/No Credit

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 5:27 pm

The Pleasanton school board unanimously adopted a temporary grading policy at a special online meeting Thursday, allowing secondary students to receive "Credit" or "No Credit" marks instead of low letter grades on their first-semester report card.

Pleasanton Unified School District staff said they "want to make it clear that this is not the hold-harmless policy from last spring," but that the policy would allow students to avoid any immediate negative impact on their grade-point average (GPA) until they could remediate any courses.

With many students struggling with loneliness, isolation and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic and "disengaging from school entirely," assistant superintendent Janelle Woodward called the policy "an opportunity to provide an additional layer of support for students who are struggling the most under these unprecedented circumstances."

Middle and high school students who earn a grade of F during the first semester -- which ended Dec. 18 -- will instead receive no credit, while students with a grade of D will receive a credit mark. In both instances, a CR or NC mark does not impact a student's GPA as negatively as a failing letter grade.

Students with earned grades of A, B or C, and those who earn an extra grade weighting in Advanced Placement or Honors-level courses with a C grade or better, will have their grades upheld.

The district is working on a plan to help high school students with credit recovery for first-semester courses, as well as for students who received no credit marks and/or to remediate courses with credit marks.

Students will have the chance to replace CR/NC marks with letter grades, according to Woodward, with priority being given this spring to high school seniors who need to retake courses to meet graduation or college admission requirements.

Summer school will also be offered to help high school students earn letter grades for classes that are reflected as CR/NC for core classes.

If graduation requirements are not remediated over the summer, students in grades 9 to 11 will need to retake those courses the following year. Middle school students who receive No Credit for higher level math may also need to retake courses later on.

Last April, the California Department of Education and Board of Education issued grading guidance stating that both letter grades and Credit/No Credit would be accepted for spring of the 2019-20 school year while students and teachers adjusted to remote instruction.

PUSD has reverted back to its regular grading system since then and observed "a significant increase in the number of Ds and Fs for secondary students," particularly for minority groups.

Though Black and American Indian/Alaska Native students make up a small portion of PUSD's overall racial demographics, of 162 Black students in secondary grades, 30% had a D or F during the first quarter of 2020-21. Of the 26 American Indian or Alaska Native students in secondary school, 73% also had at least one D or F during the first quarter.

Since last year, the number of secondary students with two to four D or F grades has increased from 39.1% to 43.3%.

"What was most concerning to us was to look at the number of students who have 5 or more Ds or Fs," said Pam VandeKamp, district director of assessment and accountability.

That number went from 26 students overall who had 5 or more Ds or Fs, or 1.6% of all secondary students, to 342 students -- or an increase to 18.5%.

In December, site administrators collaborated with staff to develop and implement flexible grading options during the pandemic. These include reducing assignment workloads, accepting late work without penalty, allowing make-ups for missed assignments, and allowing test corrections and retakes.

The deadline for semester one grade submission was also extended to Jan. 12, to allow teachers to make any changes. Final grades should be available on Jan 15.

Ahead of a planned virtual town hall meeting on secondary school reopening this Wednesday (Jan. 13) at 5:30 p.m., PUSD is seeking feedback from families on remote learning in order to provide an updated recommendation to the Board of Trustees soon on students returning to campus.

Last month, the board recommended that secondary campuses reopen after Alameda County is in the red tier for four weeks, and as permitted by public health officials.

Comments

Naveed Khan
Registered user
Stoneridge Park
on Jan 11, 2021 at 4:20 pm
Naveed Khan, Stoneridge Park
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2021 at 4:20 pm
9 people like this

PUSD is sending a wrong message. Grading standards across PUSD system have already been lowered, now giving NC or CR for F's and D's is sending is not going to enhance student learning. Remediation classes are a joke. They do not improve learning or student skills, rather a mere presence in them let students get a better grade. PUSD manipulating the system to show a better result for the school system rather than help students become more adaptable to on-line learning.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 11, 2021 at 11:28 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2021 at 11:28 pm
9 people like this

How much longer are we going to endure this board’s failure? This isn’t about children’s interests, it’s about covering their butts and hiding behind a failing approach to education.


raven
Registered user
Amador Valley High School
on Jan 17, 2021 at 5:13 pm
raven, Amador Valley High School
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2021 at 5:13 pm
Like this comment

Some things don’t change. They will manipulate to make them “look” better.
Remember the student survey, which when came back, showed how much alcohol and drug use was going on. Of course, that part of the survey was reissued to students. Cuz they didn’t like the numbers. A real slap to students telling the truth.
And why is the Teachers Union so quiet. ????


raven
Registered user
Amador Valley High School
on Jan 17, 2021 at 5:15 pm
raven, Amador Valley High School
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2021 at 5:15 pm
Like this comment

Some things don’t change. They will manipulate to make them “look” better.
Remember the student survey, which when came back, showed how much alcohol and drug use was going on. Of course, that part of the survey was reissued to students. Cuz they didn’t like the numbers. A real slap to students telling the truth.
And why is the Teachers Union so quiet. ????


Real World
Registered user
Amador Valley High School
on Jan 18, 2021 at 11:25 am
Real World, Amador Valley High School
Registered user
on Jan 18, 2021 at 11:25 am
2 people like this

I have an idea for the other folks that posted.

STOP!!!!!!

Just maybe you should stop and think about how the kids feel.

For our Seniors, the year has sucked what a poor experience. The others are suffering from endless zoom class and limited social interaction. I worry more about the mental health of our students than grades. I work for one of the major tech companies with 1000 employees under me and ex-US Army who led troops in combat. If I have learned one thing, it's your only as good as those around you's mental and physical health.

Instead of blaming everyone because there is no way everyone will be happy or worried that a kid gets "Credit" or "No Credit" marks instead of low letter grades, let make sure our kids get the support they need. Not all home situations are the same, and if this helps one kid make it and graduate, do you really think anyone is going to care that during the pandemic, they got "Credit" or "No Credit" marks instead of low letter grades.

Wake-up and join the real world.


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