Updated Pass/Fail Grading Policy for California Community College Students

Community college students across the state just got a lifeline to stay in school. The California Community College Board of Trustees has approved an updated grading policy to discourage students from dropping out.

Edward Borek is president of Associated Student Government at Miramar College in San Diego. He is also working for the college part-time and taking 17 credit units this semester. Due to the pandemic, he often works from his dining room table.

“I’m stressed about getting that A for maintaining a 4.0 GPA, not sleeping and not taking care of myself,” he said, “just to get that 90 as opposed to an 89. If you take a pass/no pass you wouldn’t have to struggle so much to pass.

Updated Pass/Fail Grading Policy for CA Community College Students

The updated policy allows students to decide whether they want a letter grade or a pass/fail grade to protect their GPA until their last day of class of a semester.

“Students were struggling with distance learning and sick family members due to COVID,” said Adrian Gonzales, vice president of student affairs at Miramar College. The pass/no pass option is designed to relieve some of the stress caused by the pandemic.

“If in a normal situation they would have gotten an A, but, with all they have to do, got a C, that allows them to say, ‘I’m going to take a pass/no pass. pass and not have to worry about the pressure of A, B or C on my transcript,” Gonzales said.

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This is a calculated risk for students, as the policy change does not apply to four-year universities which may still require traditional grading. It will be the student’s responsibility to work with an advisor on the best transfer options.

Edward Borek has not lost hope and will continue his hard work to complete a degree in business administration. After that, he plans to complete an MBA or get accepted to law school. He might even seek a common program. “I think you have to be optimistic and aim for the stars,” he said.

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