Palo Alto High School's News and Features Publication

Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

Editorial: No-marks or Fs? District must choose one system

Sophie Mies

At Palo Alto High School, the grading system for students who are failing a class is not consistent.

When a student fails a class, it’s up to the teacher’s discretion to decide whether to assign an F or a no mark/credit.

This system disproportionately favors white and Asian students and disadvantages minorities such as Hispanics.

This is because teachers typically assign more no marks to white and Asian students, which does not harm their GPA.

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According to a grade analysis of the first semester of 2024, the percentage of Hispanic students getting an F compared to a no mark/no credit was 16 percent, while only 3 percent of Asian and white students received F’s compared to no marks/no credits.

Change must be made.

We commend the school board for looking into this matter at a board meeting on Feb. 13, where the board proposed fully replacing F grades by turning them into no marks or no credits.

This means that any student who fails a class will be able to retake it in the summer without the original F affecting the student’s GPA. We hope that the outcome of this discussion will lead to a consistent policy that requires one grading system instead of two.

It’s important to have a consistent system, whether that means only having F’s be assigned, or forcing teachers to give no marks or no credits for every student.

Either of these systems would remove potential bias and would keep the assignment of failing grades fair and consistent.
What is important is to choose one grading system and stick with it.