On April 28, the Ventura Unified School District (Ventura Unified) school board enacted new grading policies for middle schools and high schools for the second semester of the 2019-20 school year in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, school closures and the ultimate shift to online learning. Their decision came after a committee determined the best approach to the situation after careful consideration of the circumstances, coupled with input from teachers and other district members’ responses to surveys.
The document regarding the decision of the school board was released on April 29 and allowed for middle schools to only issue pass and no mark grades. High schools would be allowed to issue grades and marks that were “A”, “B,” “C,”” pass, incomplete and no mark.
A grade of an “A” would be granted for superior work, a “B” is granted for proficient work, a “C” is for work that is average and a pass is for below average work. All of these marks will be given credit while incomplete or no mark will not be. Incomplete is given for work that is not finished, but a passing grade can be gained if the assigned work is completed during the summer session. A grade of no mark will be given no credit due to significant incomplete assignments and the student will not be able to regain credit.
While distributing grades, students are going to be “held harmless” for their second semester grades and marks. This means that students are not allowed to be given any semester grade that is less than what they received during Quarter 3, however, students can improve their grade to produce a higher average for the semester through their effort in online learning.
While the fear is present that students may give up learning due to the “held harmless” portion, the board members hope that students will be motivated to keep learning. They hope that the realization that the subject matter must be learned at some point will raise initiative to work through the material.
In response to online learning platforms, it was noted that a student’s overall grade displayed on Canvas or Edgenuity is not allowed to be directly transferred to be their second semester grade without a teacher’s discretion.
This system is designed to help give credit for students who may be at a disadvantage when it comes to distant learning and to ease the stress of those who may be concerned that the grades of online learning could impact their ability to be admitted to colleges.