F, Please? Students Seek Reversal of Grading Policy

Image credit: Jose Carlos Fajardo/San Jose Mercury News/MCT/Newscom

In what one school district official calls a "conundrum," students at a California magnet school have asked that their Ds be changed  to Fs.

When it opened four years ago, Dozier-Libbey Medical High School in Antioch, a school for students seeking health-care related professions,  banned the D grade to encourage students to set higher goals for themselves. Students who didn't earn a C received an F.

After parents complained recently that the grading system was too tough, the Antioch Unified school district urged the school to resurrect the D and replace Fs with Ds on students' records, when D was the grade the student earned.

But here's the problem: California state universities don't accept Ds in college-preparatory courses, and students can't retake a class in an attempt to get a higher grade unless they receive an F.

While  some teachers  said they favored the no-D policy,  others told the San Jose Mercury News that they'd heard of students intentionally failing a course so that they could retake it in summer school.

"It's really the opposite of what we're trying to accomplish," Tom Gravert, a teacher at Dozier-Libby,  told the newspaper.

In an effort at compromise, the district gave students with Ds an opportunity to improve their grades through the summer electronic-course program.

"It's been an education for all of us," Antioch Unified school board trustee Walter Ruehlig told the Mercury News.

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