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California law allows high school students to request grade changes

Posted at 5:59 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 22:46:50-04

Recent legislation is allowing high school students to change a letter grade to a Pass or No Pass for a course taken during the last school year.

Assembly Bill 104 was signed on July 1, 2021, by Governor Gavin Newsom. It allows high school students to ditch A through F grades and instead, receive a Pass or No Pass.

Some parents we talked with were not aware of the new legislation which applies to high schoolers throughout California.

One said they’re not on board.

“Grades are a metric of not only the performance of our teachers but how well the material is absorbed by the student and if we're trying to set our kids up for success in the future, I'd be more concerned that that material is being understood rather if the work was just being done or not,” said parent Katie Morris.

To request a grade change, a student must complete an application form and return it to their district.

It’s due within 15 days from the time a school district posts about it on their website and informs parents.

For Lucia Mar Unified, that deadline is August 13. For Atascadero Unified, it’s August 11.

There’s no limit on the number or type of courses eligible for the transcript adjustment.

“A hypothetical school district who has a no pass, not impacting grade point average but a D or an F might. The student might request that so that part is specific to each district,” said E.J. Rossi, Atascadero Unified Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services.

Given that most post-secondary institutions are no longer requiring or considering SAT and/or ACT scores, college admissions will be focusing more on student transcripts.

The bill requires that the Cal State University system not penalize students for Pass/No Pass grades.

According to the California Department of Education, Cal Poly is on the list of postsecondary institutions that will accept a transcript with a Pass or No Pass grade for admission.

We reached out to Cal Poly and were told, if a student has a Pass/No Pass grade, it impacts their course counts but not their GPA. So, if they passed the course, they get credit for the course. If it’s a no-pass or no-credit, they do not get credit for the course.

Students should check with their desired colleges and universities, especially those out of state for specific questions.

The bill prohibits school agencies from accepting grade change applications after the deadline.