The district moved toward a system of credit or no credit for high school courses during the COVID-19 closures as it helps address the many challenges and unknowns faced by students and staff in this rapidly evolving time. Distance learning on this scale is new for everyone involved and we recognize that many individuals will have unique challenges to overcome as they work to be successful.
After announcing the decision to move to credit or no credit grading, we had significant feedback from parents, students and staff members who expressed interest in having a grading option. Depending on a student’s unique situation and goals, letter grades can be important to their progress. In an effort to provide as much flexibility as possible, while still offering a default that protects students and accounts for challenges they may face, the decision was reached to offer the option for letter grades if a student petitions.
Students who wish to petition for a letter grade should consider the request carefully and fully understand the impact that it may have on their academic record. Our counseling staff members are working to develop further guidance to help students who are considering a petition make the best decision for their situation. We do believe the credit or no credit default is the best option for most students in most situations. CSU and UC schools as well as many of the top universities in the country have announced that students will not be harmed in the admission process for having credit or no credit courses on their transcripts. However, there are situations where petitioning for a letter grade might be to a student’s advantage. One example: A student who struggled as a freshman but improved greatly as a sophomore or junior would be missing an important window of time to help offset their GPA from freshman year. Or, for students who plan to apply to specialized programs or specific scholarships that rely heavily on letter grades or GPAs, there may be an advantage to petition for a letter grade.
At the end of the day, there are thousands of unique student situations. While credit or no credit is likely the best option for most, and thus our default, providing an option to petition for a grade helps our students meet their own unique needs.