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SFUSD Alters Grading Policy In Response To Coronavirus

Kevin N. Hume
San Francisco Examiner
Superintendent Vincent Matthews, Ed.D.

Students in San Francisco’s public schools have some new clarity regarding their grades during the COVID-19 pandemic.


On Tuesday night the San Francisco Board of Education adopted a resolution altering their grading policy for the remainder of the current school year.  The resolution was introduced by Superintendent Vincent Matthews and moves most students in grades six through twelve to a Credit / No-Credit system.  Fifth graders and younger will receive teacher comments on their report cards instead of letter grades. And students with individual education plans, or IEPs, will receive their grades according to those plans.

Earlier in the month SFUSD had signalled its support for a proposal to give all middle and high school students A’s for the semester.  That idea faced criticism from some parents and administrators outside the district.  They said that giving all students A’s would cheapen the letter grade and possibly disincentivize students from staying engaged in learning.  In his presentation to the Board, Superintendent Matthews said that passing out straight A’s could complicate admissions to colleges and would not be an accurate assessment of student progress. Additionally, both the UC and CSU systems have suspended their letter grade requirement for courses completed in the Winter, Spring and Summer 2020 sessions.  Both university systems have said that they view a Credit / No-Credit system as the most equitable way forward.

Joshua Sirotiak is an environment reporter for KALW in San Francisco. He's a working musician, father and self-proclaimed nerd who has previously produced audio journalism for NBC News and Chicago Public Media.