Over the past few weeks, many public schools have adopted what is called a “hold harmless” approach to grades, including those in Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest district. The approach allows students to use the rest of the semester to improve their scores, but their final grades cannot drop lower than they were before schools shut down.
New York City, the nation’s largest district, will still issue letter grades in high school, although students with failing scores will get an “in progress” instead of an F. But they can also opt into a pass/fail system that would not lower their grade point averages, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday.
Across the country, there is no clear agreement on the best approach, with some states, including Illinois, Delaware and New Mexico, urging districts to adopt a pass/incomplete or credit/no credit system, and others like Oklahoma warning that a lack of letter grades could cost students scholarships or harm their eligibility for college sports. And school systems are aware that whatever they do now could set a precedent for the fall, when remote learning might continue.