Los Angeles schools won't give any students failing grade during pandemic

Los Angeles schools won't give any students failing grade during pandemic
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The Los Angeles Unified School District will not give any student a failing grade after closing schools through the rest of the academic year and the summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, the district announced Monday.

Chief academic officer Alison Yoshimoto-Towery said that while schools have converted to video learning since campuses closed March 16, some students may have home situations that make the format difficult, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“There is still no clear picture in testing, treatments or vaccines and we will not reopen school facilities until state authorities tell us it is safe and appropriate to do so,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said during a Monday video briefing. “The remainder of the school year ... will be completed in the current, remote fashion and we will have a summer session in a similar manner.

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“Many of the examples we see of successful video learning have a significant selection bias.

"Affluent families with resources at home, schools with years of training and limitless budgets and students with demonstrated aptitude to learn independently,” he added. “Public schools have in their DNA the commitment to serve all students, irrespective of circumstance, and it will not be so simple.”

California’s state government has not issued any universal directives on grading amid the pandemic, but state Department of Education guidelines say schools should “enable students to complete state graduation requirements with needed flexibilities” due to the transition to online instruction, the Times reports.

The district had previously announced no student would receive a worse grade than the one they had been on track to receive when campuses closed.

The guidelines also give districts broad leeway in what grading system will be used during the lockdown.

“Teachers can give students a range of options in how they demonstrate their understanding of essential standards, allowing them to utilize strategies, technologies or platforms with which they are already familiar and that fit their differing context and needs,” the guidelines state.