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Raising the Grade Floor has Many Pros and Cons for Students

December 13, 2021

On November 8, the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) made the decision to raise the grade floor. That means, the lowest grade one can receive on any assignment is a 50%. 

This doesn’t guarantee that students will pass a class without doing any assignments, but it will provide a boost that could help many students. 

Many students remember a similar policy that happened when schools closed down in March 2020 and many opinions were quite positive, however, with a new in-person school year, it disrupts students’ learning. 

The Con

Regarding the change to the grade policy, many successful students are mad at this change since it undermines their achievements and pushes back their official percentage grade. 

Some students believe it’s unfair towards the students who do their work. And the students who don’t do their work still get a grade for doing nothing.

Senior Arianna Diaz said, “It’s unfair for the students who actually complete the work on time since I feel that the students that were helped by the policy change got a free pass from their work.” 

Junior Elizabeth Rodriguez feels the same way.

“I feel like my work is being undermined and it’s just not fair,” said Rodriguez.

This policy change also makes the Santa Ana Unified School District look bad since we are only 1 of 2 districts in California that is allowing this change. One teacher who asked to remain anonymous said that this policy is disrespectful to the students of Santa Ana. They believe it will teach students bad habits by allowing them to expect the full grade for half the work. 

The main reason I believe this grading policy doesn’t work is because I’ve had experiences where another person doesn’t do the work and still passes. It makes me feel like a nerd or dork just because I was trying to learn the material.

I understand the district is trying to help but this is an unhealthy method that will cause students to remain lazy and unmotivated.  

 

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The Pro

Many students who believe the policy is good, view it as a safety net. Some students are bombarded by work and see the 50% as a placeholder grade before they are able to turn things in on time. 

For junior Ruby Ramirez, she sees it as an insurance policy.

“The 50% is like my insurance. I always turn in my work but in case I forgot something, I’m able to just turn it in or leave it as a 50%,” said Ramirez.

The grade change also benefits those who have been sent home due to exposure of the coronavirus and now have to quarantine for 10 days. 

Students who are sent homes will now have a chance to make up this late work or at the very least keep that 50%.

Senior Angel Nieto who was sent home in early December appreciated the grade bump.  

“I have some missing assignments but with the 50%, I’m able to at least catch up and turn in the late work,” said Nieto.

Overall, the pros outweigh the cons because even the high-achieving kids can at least get 50% for the work they didn’t turn in. 

I believe that this policy does work because it takes the pressure off many student’s backs.

It does help unmotivated students in an unfair way but students who actually do the work know that they did the work. They know the fact that they earned their grade because with or without the policy change they did everything in their power to learn.

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