As many states across the country scramble to make decisions about how grades will be attributed to students for this semester, parents of high school students need to be cautious. While some states are providing students in public high school the option of having numeric grades or Pass/ No Credit entered in, there are consequences for either.
Let’s assume you have a 9th grader and he/she is not doing well in Algebra and would likely end the semester with a D for his/her final grade. Is it better to have the D on their transcript or Pass? This can get tricky because what if you and your child are thinking about the long game and want to build the grade point average? In North Carolina, passing and no credit will not impact the grade point average. For students who were already struggling, this could be a God send in the sense that colleges and universities are looking at whether or not you have the graduation requirements and not so much the grade in the required course.
Conversely, if you and your student do want the letter grade from the course, your student can take the grade they had as of March 13 or whatever grade is higher towards the end of this semester, and that will be the final grade. This grade will also be factored into the student’s grade point average. With the prevailing thought being that students can only improve their grades as of March 13, this new policy may prove to be beneficial to a number of students that were already doing well.
For students that were struggling prior to the stay at home orders and school closures, parents should not rush to just take a pass. I believe that if you’re looking towards the long game of graduation, college admissions and scholarships, a pass grade can throw a monkey wrench in your planning. Pass grades do not factor into your grade point average so your student will have to rely on the grade point average they had from the previous semester as a base. You also want to remember that many scholarships are heavily based on grade point averages not from a semester but cumulatively.
Final note, if your child is a graduating high school senior, their final grade point average (at least in NC) is going to be based on the final grade for the fall semester. This semester they will receive a Pass PC-19 or Withdrew WC19 based off of grades on March 13th. If they are or were failing, they will have opportunities through remote learning to bring the grade to passing. Also, only 22 credits are being required to graduate. PLEASE be mindful that what is required may differ from what college and universities require so check with each prospective school to see if they have changed their entrance requirements. If you don’t live in NC, check your State Board of Education website to see what the high school grading policy is. If your child attends private high school, inquire as to whether their policy on grading is impacted by COVID-19. Don’t assume, ASK!
Keep your foot on the gas and PRESS in parents, I’m here if you need me!
Shawn A. Hall