The Santa Barbara, California, school district is considering a proposal to ban D and F grades “to address student inequities.”
The Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education heard the plan Tuesday night that would affect secondary students.
“Most teachers I know, they are already adjusting their practices, they are encouraging revision, they are stretching deadlines, they are providing extra tutoring and they are focusing on competency-based grading,” board president Kate Ford said, NoozHawk reported.
“I think changing board policy only acknowledged these changes, and gave them strength, and maybe provide a way forward.”
According to the paper, about one-third of students are earning a D or F in at least one class amid remote learning conditions created by the school district. Students who do not receive an A, B, or C would be awarded an “incomplete” or “no credit.”
Those students would then have a period of time to complete “specific learning tasks,” and if done, would then be converted into a letter grade.
Karen McBride, president of the Santa Barbara teachers union, indicated there is something more sinister going on, beyond students simply being out of the classroom.
“I understand the need to respond in this situation where we have a lot of kids with Ds and Fs,” McBride said, according to the news site.
“The grading policy, as it stands, and what was presented tonight, while it is well-intended, it is missing that piece where we look at what is behind a child who is getting a D or F and what are we going to do about it besides just giving them more time. That doesn’t address the root causes. I haven’t heard any discussion about that.”
The board did, apparently. Via NoozHawk:
The board members all agreed that there needs to be a change to the grading policy to acknowledge the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on Latinx students, students with disabilities, socio-economically disadvantaged students and emergent multilingual learners. The actual details of the proposal, however, still need to be worked out.
The board will vote on the proposal January 12.
In October, the San Diego Unified School District said it was going to change grading to “make them more anti-racist and equitable.”
“For months, the district has been working on multiple areas of its operations, including grading, in efforts to make them more anti-racist and equitable, partly in response to social justice protests that erupted over the summer in response to George Floyd’s death,” the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
According to Breitbart News, “black students received D or F grades 20 percent of the time, and Hispanic students received D and F grades 23 percent of the time. Meanwhile, white students received these grades 7 percent of the time, while Asian students received them 6 percent of the time.”
In Montgomery County, Maryland, failure rates in English and math for some low-income students have increased six times previous levels.