Officials Detail Distance Learning Grading Policy

Officials with South Pasadena Unified School District said they are moving forward with a special distance learning grading policy that was designed to “benefit students and to limit negative consequences due to changes stemming from this emergency situation.”
The district has enacted differing policies for all three levels of schooling, according to Superintendent Geoff Yantz, who last week informed the district’s parents about the temporary policy change. The announcement came midway through SPUSD’s first week of its distance learning program, which was developed in the wake of school closures as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
At South Pasadena High School, fourth-quarter grades will be determined based on adjusted grading aligned to the distance learning program, formally titled the Independent Study Distance Learning Program. No student will start the fourth quarter with a grade lower than a 55%. Students will have until Friday, May 29, to choose either a letter grade or credit/no credit format for their final semester grade.
To determine final semester grades, third quarter grades will be weighted at 60% and fourth quarter grades will be weighted at 40%. Final second semester grades will be the same or higher than the third quarter grades. Additionally, credit/no credit grades will not be calculated into the students’ GPA. Students who plan to apply to out-of-state colleges and universities should review individual college admission policies before selecting this option.
Seniors will not be required to perform 45 hours of community service to graduate this year.
At South Pasadena Middle School, teachers will assign a credit/no credit grade for the fourth quarter based on the adjusted grading for the remainder of the year. These grades will not be calculated into the students’ GPA.
At Arroyo Vista, Marengo and Monterey Hills elementary schools, teachers will not assign a numerical grade for the third trimester but will provide comments on the students’ performance over the course of the year including during the ISDLP.
The COVID-19 pandemic formally approved the framework at a special meeting last week, after officials took guidance from state Department of Education and the county Office of Education. The grading guidelines for high schools, specifically, are aligned to the revised admissions requirements recently adopted by the University of California, California State University and community college systems, along with California’s independent colleges.
Yantz added that administrators and teachers plan to revise course placement protocols based on the new system of grading to ensure students are not adversely impacted in selecting classes for next year.