Students in several of California’s largest school districts will no longer be permitted to fail. In various school systems, teachers have been prohibited from giving D or F grades for poor work. Students will get a second chance to retake tests and finish tasks instead of receiving an F grade. The policy was advanced during the epidemic as a mechanism for the school districts to support Latino, Black, and low-income kids who were having trouble maintaining their grades.

The epidemic has had a huge impact on minority and low-income kids. This grading reform may be able to assist these students during this time of need. Critics, on the other hand, argue that it will make it too simple for children to achieve while failing to prepare them for the harsh realities of life in the United States.

According to a Daily Mail article about an Ed Source report, the California school districts that are changing their grading policy include Los Angeles Unified, Oakland Unified, Sacramento City Unified, and Santa Ana.

Instead of failing students because of subpar work, they will have their assignment marked “incomplete” and be given a second chance to do the task and earn a higher grade.

“Our hope is that students begin to see school as a place of learning, where they can take risks and learn from mistakes, instead of a place of compliance,” stated Nidya Baez, assistant principal. “Right now, we have a system where we give a million points for a million pieces of paper that students turn in, without much attention to what they’re actually learning.”

Devin Vodicka, the former superintendent of Vista Unified in San Diego County and chief executive of the Learner-Centered Collaborative, a nonprofit organization attempting to implement a competency-based learning method in education, discussed how traditional grading is prejudiced against minority and low-income kids.

“We need a system that gets beyond the institutional model and provides more meaningful feedback for students,” Vodicka (above) said. “The future is going to require less focus on time and more focus on what we can do and contribute, and the quality of our performance. We need to prepare our students for this.”

Debora Rinehart, a Catholic school math and science teacher in Oakland, thinks that it’s critical to fail pupils when their work is poor.

“I will work with any student before or after school or even on the weekend to help them learn. However, I will never lie about their knowledge level,” she said. “Not reporting Ds and Fs is the equivalent of lying about a student’s progress.”

Critics of the grading reform argue that it will make it too easy for students to pass while failing to prepare them for the harsh realities of life in America. Supporters, on the other hand, believe that this might be a method to assist minority and low-income pupils who have been having difficulties during the epidemic. Only time will tell if this change in policy is beneficial to kids.