New California law lets high school students in distance learning request grade changes

Ready 4 School

A Los Angeles Unified School District student attends an online class at Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. The LAUSD schools resumed classes with distance learning, but many underprivileged students still struggle, according to Mel Culpepper, CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood. The facility is open for children whose parents must leave home to work. There is no charge. Snacks and lunch are provided. “These kids are already behind,” said Culpepper. “Our mission is to help the kids and families that need us most and that’s what we are doing.” (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — California students who fell behind in some courses during the 2020-21 school year now have a ‘learning recovery’ option to fix low grades and ensure timely graduation.

Gov. Newsom signed AB 104 into law on July 1, 2021. There are a few options available for parents and students to decide from.

Repeating the Grade Level

First, students enrolled in K-11 who received deficient grades for at least half of their school work can request a ‘retention consultation.’

This will be a discussion between the student, school officials, and the student’s parent/guardian on whether repeating the grade level is the best choice going forward. The school will have to set up this consultation within 30 days of the request – and make a retention decision within 10 days of the meeting.

If they come to a decision not to retain the student, that student will be offered access to the classes in which the student got a D or F grade during the pandemic, or another form of credit recovery.

Regardless of the decision made, the school must offer the student specific intervention and support, the legislation orders.

Pass / No Pass Grades

Another mandate from the law allows students the power to request a letter grade be changed to either a ‘Pass’ or ‘No Pass’ grade on the student’s transcript. The school district, county board of education or charter school will be required to comply.

The California State University will be required to accept the Pass/No Pass on admission transcripts. Private postsecondary institutions and the University of California will be required to let the State Department of Education know whether or not they will accept these changed transcripts for admissions.

Exemption from Extra Work

Students who were in 11th or 12th grade during the 2020-21 school year and are not on track to graduate in four years must be exempt from extra coursework, the law requires.

This applies to coursework that is assigned by a school district, charter school or county office of education beyond what is required by the state.

The students also must be provided with an opportunity to finish the statewide coursework required for graduation, which could include a fifth year of instruction.

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