LBUSD Adopts Hybrid Grading System For Online Classes

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The Laguna Beach Unified Board of Education met virtually with staffers and student representatives April 16. Courtesy of Youtube

The Laguna Beach Unified School District announced a hybrid approach to assessing students’ academic performance in grades six through 12 for the remainder of the school year, according to a statement released Monday night.

Teachers can continue awarding an A, B, or C grade to deserving students. Those students who would otherwise receive a D or F will instead receive marks for credit or no credit.

“First and foremost, these decisions were made in consideration of equity and doing no harm to students,” Supt. Jason Viloria said in the statement.

By issuing credit in lieu of a below-average letter grade, students are not disadvantaged in the college admissions process compared to students from other school districts that select an exclusively credit-or-no-credit grading system, Viloria said.

The arrangement is a win for students who were concerned about losing high-grade point averages they planned to share in college applications.

“The hybrid grading structure meets the greatest amount of student needs during this distance learning environment,” Sara Hopper, president of the Laguna Beach Unified Faculty Association, said in a statement Tuesday,

For students in transitional kindergarten through fifth grade, teachers will provide summaries for the third-trimester report card about a student’s engagement in learning activities, participation in distance learning, and performance on assignments, activities, and informal assessments.

One parent complained about the rigor of online learning in a letter read during the last Board of Education meeting. However, a Laguna Beach Unified document obtained under the California Public Records Act defines expectations for teachers and classified employees during school closures.

Teachers are required to communicate with parents and students regularly; identify “office hours” using appointment slots in Google calendar or set meeting times with entire classes, small group or individual students; push out communication via ParentSquare or some other way to detail daily or weekly lesson plans with expectations for students, produce recorded and/or live video lessons; and monitor student attendance, completion of work, and contact parents or guardians whose students are not completing work.

Some parents encouraged district administrators to hold a town hall to hear from students and parents about their thoughts on a pass or no pass grading system. That discussion never materialized.

“We gathered input from staff at all levels and considered guidance from the California Department of Education and colleges and universities in developing these interim policies,” Viloria said in a statement. “While each school district’s needs may be different, LBUSD staff considered the unique needs of our students and staff.”

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