Pass or Fail: A Student’s Struggle

Juan Shogren Tutiven, staff writer

Students at Nipomo High School are spearheading a petition to keep letter grades after an email from the Lucia Mar Unified School District (LMUSD) potentially put their letter grades in jeopardy.

The petition specifically calls for the high schools of LMUSD to allow individual students to choose between letter grades and a pass/fail system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Started by sophomore NHS student Louis DiModica, the petition is quickly gaining traction among interested LMUSD students. 

The reasoning behind this is that a pass/fail system could affect student GPA, potentially harming college chances. 

It could also invalidate AP credits at some universities, according to an article by the Hechinger Report. Students put a lot of effort into AP classes, and put enormous amounts of time, studying and money into the AP tests. 

DiModica is attempting to get in front of the problem. According to the email sent by LMUSD, “High schools will be sending additional guidance on this topic that relates specifically to high school students.” 

The email summarizes that a pass/fail system is being potentially considered for the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year, which is composed of at-home instruction due to the current COVID-19 pandemic raging throughout the United States and the world. 

The general language used in this email is all the more alarming to high school students because in the same email, the pass/fail system was clearly instituted in the elementary and secondary schools in the LMUSD.

The email is quoted as saying “We are moving to Credit/No Credit grading for the second semester (secondary) and third trimester (elementary).”

DiModica is pointing to the California State Department of Education as proof of concept.

The California State Department of Education has given community colleges the option of pass/fail or letter grades to those high school students who are enrolled in community college classes, according to a letter published by the California Community Colleges.

The petition as of the time of this writing is currently over halfway to its goal of 100 signatures, having been up for approximately an hour. 

If you are a NHS student interested in this petition you can do so at the link below.

UPDATE 4/6/20 2:34 PM: Nipomo High School Principal John Denno has confirmed via email that all classes in the current semester will be credit/no credit. He has an FAQ here.