On July 1 Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that requires schools to create a process for learning and grade recovery as a result of the pandemic.
Assembly Bill 104 went into effect immediately and allows parents of students who were in grades K-11 in 2020 and who have a D, F, or an equivalent grade in at least half of their courses to request that the student be held back a year.
“Now that our kids are returning to the classroom, we need to focus on supporting students who have fallen behind and lost a year of educational progress,” said the bill’s author, Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), in a statement. “AB 104 provides students and parents with immediate steps they can take to help their children get back on track.”
Studies have found that COVID-19 school disruptions significantly impacted student learning, especially among low-income students and English learners.
The bill provides that within 30 days of receiving a written request for retention, schools must offer parents and the student a consultation meeting with an administrator and teacher. The consultation must include a discussion of learning options, a consideration of the student’s academic record, and research on the effects of pupil retention.
Schools have the ultimate authority to decide whether to retain a student and are required to notify the parent of their decision within 10 days of the consultation meeting.
High school students can apply to have a letter grade replaced with a pass/no pass grade. The grade changes must not negatively impact a student’s grade point average. The law requires that the CSU system accept the pass/no pass grades without prejudice, and encourages the UC system and private colleges to do the same.
The bill requires that the California Department of Education post a list of all colleges and universities within the state that have indicated they will accept pass/no pass grades without prejudice. It also requires that the CDE provide schools with an application template for grade changes. Schools are required to inform students and families of this grade change option on their website and in writing.
Students enrolled in their last two years of high school in 2020-21 and who are not on track to graduate are exempt from all coursework that is in addition to the statewide coursework requirements. Schools must provide these students with a chance to complete the statewide coursework required for graduation, including allowing a fifth year of instruction or credit recovery.
CTA took a neutral position on this legislation as it made its way through the legislative process.