New Grading Policy…Does it help all students? Pro/Con

April Sayaan and Lesly Hernandez


Imagine having a bad year with grades and falling behind to a 0% and it’s hard to recover from that. The new grading policy helps you come back from a 50% rather than a 0%.

The new grading policy has found a solution to this. If you don’t do an assignment or test, the lowest grade you can get is 50%. There has been talking about the new grading policy since it was implemented.

The new grading policy is fair game for all students. If you have a D- in the class, which is 60%, you can quickly come back to a C- within 10%.

Otherwise, if you had an F as your final grade, you could fall down to a 0% and it was difficult to come back from that. 

It seems fair to get an automatic 50% if you don’t do an assignment or test. The 50% acts as a placeholder for the actual grade they’ll receive after doing the assignment or test. 

Every department has a different grading system but they all implement the same 50% policy. They can choose the penalties for students not turning in their assignments or doing their tests, but you will always receive the 50%.

It’s different to come back from a 0 than a 50, because from a 0 you would need to come back 60% for a passing grade. With a 50% you can come back within 10% to a passing grade.

Each department chooses its own way with percentages but assessments can only be worth a certain percentage.

This newly implemented grading policy has been fair because if a grading period is coming around and you haven’t been to school you can get that 50% no matter what, you can come back from that 50 which is an F, and get back to a 60 or 70 which is a D or C.

In certain classes, teachers implement a policy for late work. Some teachers give you a fair grace period for you to make up your work, whether you were absent or you just received a bad grade.

Not all teachers implement the grace period policy, but the ones who do are fair, especially with people getting sick and missing school.

Overall, the new grading policy has had pros and cons but it appears that even when students don’t do their work they recover from their 50%.

Students feel more encouraged to make up their work because they’re not recovering from a 0, they’re coming back from a 50 and they only need to make up 10 more percent to hit the passing grade.

Other students might disagree that the new grading policy regarding late work and assessments isn’t fair because they work hard for the higher grade. Students who struggle with their other 6-7 classes need that 50 as a placeholder until they actually work for their grade.

Students are able to come back from their 50% because they automatically come back from that when or if they’re able to make up the work.

Some teachers will just give students the 50% and move on, which is fair.

The 50% will still be in effect for the 2022-2023 year with some new perks along with the ones already in place.


An assignment is given. You have to read an article and provide a multiple-page reflection on any thoughts you have on the reading. You give one and a half pages and turn it in, yet someone from the class doesn’t even turn it in and gets half of the same grade you did. And it’s a 10-point assignment, meaning their grade is barely impacted. So why did I even put the effort into trying?

The new San Jose Unified School District grading policy, which was implemented in the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year, isn’t fair to all students because not every student is being recognized for the effort they put into their work, causing them to start failing as they feel less motivated.

The goal of the new grading policy according to the GHS administration is to have grades reflect students’ proficiency rather than just compliance. This policy is meant to be more equitable for all students, however, this isn’t the case right now.

Under the new policy, students can no longer receive a 0% as the minimum grade (unless there is proof of cheating). Instead, the minimum grade is 50%. The reason for this is that a 50% is still an F, and it is easier for students to recover from a 50% F than it is from a 0% F. In our current policy, improving from an F to a D is way easier than before, which required more effort when an F on assignment was 0%. 

The issue isn’t with the policy itself but rather the way teachers implement the policy. Many don’t consider the impact it can have on one’s grade. For instance, if a teacher makes every assignment and assessment the same amount of points, then the students can choose to not do some of them and their grades wouldn’t really drop.

Additionally, students have trouble understanding the true impact of the 50%. While it does help students who are struggling, it also makes some students feel as if they no longer have to try in school. Many students see the 50% as still getting some credit for doing no work. 

Parents who don’t completely understand the new policy may also see the 50% and think that their students are doing some sort of work because they received a 50% instead of a 0%.

Something that can be done to change this issue would be to lower the minimum amount a student can get on an assignment. A number/rubric grading like 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 would be a change. That would mean that a 4 is 100%, a 3 a 90%, and so on. And to get a grade in between like a 95%, then the grading would allow for a 3.7 or something along those lines. That way, if you receive a 0, you would know that no work was actually done.

Students have the chance to retake an assessment and turn in an assignment late. Just keep in mind that each department has a different set time as to when students can turn in late work or do retakes. For example, the English department’s policy is that late work can be accepted until the end of the grading period from when the assignment was given. 

This isn’t logical. Some classes can move on from the unit or topic they were on pretty fast and students wouldn’t want to do an assignment they had most likely already forgotten the content from. It just doesn’t make sense. Teachers also wouldn’t want to grade work that was from the last unit while teaching a new unit as it’s moving backward.

A good solution to this would be to allow each individual teacher to decide the time given for late work to be submitted, rather than it being a department decision. Or, at least set a reasonable time such as two weeks. It may be confusing for students if teachers were given this option, however, this decision would work for both teachers’ and students’ schedules. 

Students will disagree with this argument and say that the 50% policy, along with the late work, retake, and make-up policies have helped them come back from an F or D grade, yet while it works great for them, it doesn’t help others. 

The new policy has its ups and downs but the 50% policy shows a decline in motivation from students who were previously motivated and affects those who especially are grade motivated. 

Next year, the 50% as well as the late work policy should be modified to help every student and not just those who need to bump up their F or D grades.