Students’ work habits, like sophomore Rochelle Polushkin, have changed drastically due to Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) new and laid-back grading policy.
“The only reason I do my assignments is because I don’t want to be behind for next year,” Polushkin said. “If I miss one or two (assignments), I’m not as worried as I would be in school.”
In a press conference on April 13, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner announced a new grading policy for the whole district. The new policy enforces that no student can receive a failing grade in a class and that a student’s grade cannot drop lower than it was on March 13, the last date students were on campus before schools closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Students can still improve their grades by doing their assignments.
The policy aims to help students who don’t have access to technology or are experiencing difficulties at home.
The California Department of Education offered school districts a few other options on handling students grades including switching to a pass or no pass grading system or an A through C letter grading system. Another option was allowing students to drop a course and having it be incomplete until they can make it up at a later time.
For students, the new policy has acted as a blessing in disguise. They do not feel as pressured as they did before the new policy was implemented.
“It’s the best. I love it,” junior Om Patel said. “It actually has made me focused more and makes me love learning.”
Other students have taken the new grading policy as a way to not worry about doing their assignments because their grades cannot be negatively affected.
“People will make good use of this new grading system by slacking off since your grade can’t drop any lower than where it is,” sophomore Quinn Thorpe said.
For teachers, it has been a challenge to motivate students to complete their assignments.
“Because students know their grades won’t go down, less assignments are completed,” English teacher Ron Baer said. “The challenge is planning assignments that students will find so engaging that they will do it without any extrinsic motivation.”
Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) Principal Pia Damonte believes that teachers and students need to keep up the communication so that students don’t slack off.
“We need to continue to communicate that students need to continue to engage and participate in every class because we are building foundation skills with respect to each content area,” Damonte said. “We want to make sure all students have the right resources and tools to continue to build on their skills and get them ready for next school year.”
The new grading policy will remain intact for the rest of the school year and while some students aren’t happy about it, most students take this new policy as a time to de-stress as they look on the optimistic side of things.
“I think it’s benefiting me as it takes a lot of unnecessary stress off my shoulders during stressful times,” Polushkin said.