By KRUTIK PATEL and CATHERINE RHA
Staff Writer and News Section Editor
IUSD will be implementing a “Credit/No Credit” grading system for the second semester, in a decision by the IUSD School Board.
“In recognition of the anxiety, stress, and inherent educational inequities that exist across the nation, institutions of higher education are promoting a credit/no credit model as the most equitable approach to codifying student learning”, Assistant Superintendent Ms. Cassie Parham said. “IUSD intends to follow the example set by higher education and to join the vast majority of school districts in California in implementing the same credit/no credit model.”
Grade-point averages will not be affected by the credit/no credit grading, but teachers will still be providing feedback on assignments, and students will be expected to continue to participate in online classes or risk getting a no credit grade, regardless of current letter grade .
“If you check out, and don’t participate, whether it’s an online requirement, whether it’s an assignment, whether it’s an assessment, all which, by the way, continue to get some sort of assessment… you will not get a credit grade”, IUSD Board Member Mr. Paul Bokota said.
Students will have opportunities to demonstrate mastery of a subject that they received a no-credit grade for through online, blended, and in-person summer school courses, and IUSD is working with teachers to integrate concepts that weren’t addressed with sufficient depth into future courses.
“We are committed to students who get incomplete grades – we’re absolutely committed to helping them finish, and because it’s about the learning, to have demonstrated mastery of the essential content, ” Parham said. “Our students need to be prepared.”
As more school districts across California transitioned to alternative grading systems, IUSD also had to begin to consider systems such as pass/fail and credit/no-credit in order to maintain equity among students of all situations.
“There are a lot of factors in this situation that affect the way our students can perform under these circumstances – it’s not an affluence issue, it’s not an issue of kids who maybe have free reduced lunch. We have issues of people’s home lives being very different and affecting their learning”, Bokota said. “If we were to give grades, it’s almost asking teachers to give grades based on a student’s home life, and certainly that’s not a level playing field.”
According to the California Department of Education (CDE), alternative grading systems such as credit/no credit and pass/fail are not prohibited in the California Education Code, and the CDE has emphasized that districts should “weigh their policies with the lens of equity and with the primary goal of first, doing no harm to students”.
Due to the increased focus on equity, many teachers and students at Uni have received the credit/no credit grading system positively.
English teacher Ms. Raechl Kynor says there is no perfect decision to be made that benefits everyone, but that she believes in the long run, a credit/no credit system is the best solution for most students.
“I also think that for the students who are really concerned about GPAs, I do think that every college understands what’s going on right now”, said Kynor. “If we do move to a credit/no credit system, I don’t see how any college would penalize it and not take into account how this is an unprecedented time where unprecedented measures are taking place.”
Junior Amerdeep Passananti says a credit/no-credit system would fix the issue of unequal access to resources among students.
“Not everyone has equal access to proper technology and internet access at home, making it unfair for teachers to grade assignments based on accuracy,” Passananti said. “Additionally, not every student has a proper place to study at home, making it harder for low-income students to concentrate. So, a credit/no credit grading system may be one of the only ways to ensure equality.”
For students who may be upset about the discontinuation of traditional grading, Principal Dr. Kevin Astor said this, in a letter to the IUSD School Board: “Although I understand and empathize with the students who mourn the loss of grades because of how much hard work they invested, I am confident that this pathway leads to the least negative impact, especially on our neediest kids.”