Letter grades? Pass/no pass? A’s for all? Districts differ on grading online learning


Source: EdSource

As school communities embrace distance learning, districts are now trying to figure out how to fairly grade students for the rest of the semester while their campuses are closed and they get instruction online.

Education Trust-West, an Oakland-based advocacy organization, has called on all districts to move towards a pass/fail system in order to minimize the impact that the closures could have on students’ academic careers. The San Francisco proposal is “one way to do it,” Executive Director Elisha Smith Arrellaga said via email.

The organization conducted a survey of parents statewide and found that disproportionate numbers of low-income, Latino and African American families lack the technology needed for remote learning. Rather than worsen those disparities, districts should focus on making sure all students have the materials they need to continue learning at home, Arrillaga said.

“We should all be looking towards how to reduce the slide in student learning and provide resources to students who are the most in need now, through the summer and for the next school year,” Smith Arrillaga said.

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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.