Learning away from the usual classroom is beginning to take hold in the South Pasadena Unified School District as Superintendent Dr. Geoff Yantz congratulated families for a successful first week of independence study distance learning.
“As students and staff adjust to a new way of teaching and learning, SPUSD has been researching the best ways to assess student work equitably for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year,” wrote Yantz in a letter to SPUSD families outlining the new, board-approved grading policy for the remainder of the school year.
In his correspondence, the superintendent explained that the California Department of Education along with the Los Angeles County Office of Education recently released guidance for local school districts about grading and graduation requirements during physical school closures.
“These grading guidelines for high schools, specifically, are aligned to the revised admissions requirements recently adopted by the University of California, California State University, and community college systems along with California’s Independent Colleges,” wrote Yantz. “SPUSD principals, assistant principals, core subject area department chairs, and lead teachers provided meaningful input on the “Grades/Evaluation of Student Achievement under Emergency Conditions” policy. This policy also has been discussed with other districts throughout San Gabriel Valley and the South Bay to ensure that consistent guidelines are being applied to students’ grades.”
The South Pasadena Board of Education approved the new policy on Thursday night as part of a special board meeting.
Key Changes in New SPUSD Grading Policy
for Students in Grades TK-5, as outlined by the superintendent.
• Teachers will not assign a numerical grade for the third trimester but will provide comments on the students’ performance over the course of the year including during the Independent Study Distance Learning Program (ISDLP).
For Students in Grades 6-8:
• Teachers will assign a Credit/No Credit grade for the fourth quarter based on adjusted grading aligned to the ISDLP. Credit/No Credit grades will not be calculated into the students’ GPA.
For Students in Grades 9-12:
• Fourth quarter grades will be determined based on adjusted grading aligned to the ISDLP. No student will start the fourth quarter with a grade lower than a 55%.
• For final semester grades, students will choose either a letter grade or Credit/No Credit prior to May 29, 2020.
• To determine final semester grades, third quarter grades will be weighted at 60% and fourth quarter grades will be weighted at 40%.
• Final second semester grades will be the same or higher than the third quarter grades.
• Credit/No Credit grades will not be calculated into the students’ GPA. Students who plan to apply to out-of-state colleges/universities should review individual college admission policies before selecting this option.
• Current seniors will not be required to complete 45 community service hours in order to graduate.
The new grading policy has been created to benefit students and to limit negative consequences due to changes stemming from this emergency situation. Students should work closely with their teachers to clarify expectations about grading and must continue participating in learning and interaction through the end of the fourth quarter, keeping in mind that California’s compulsory education law requires students to continue their schooling during this time.
“We recognize that this policy may have an impact on course placement at the middle school and high school levels, and will work with our administrators and teachers on revised course placement protocols,” wrote Yantz. “Additionally, please note that this grading policy is temporary and will be discontinued once students and staff return to school.”
For complete details, Yantz sent the grading policy in an attachment to families in the district.