Parents and Students Fight Against New Pass/Fail Grading System Brought About Amidst COVID-19

"Although this benefits students who struggle with online learning, this can be hurtful to AP students and students who have worked very hard to maintain good grades," says the petition's creator.

The White Bear Lake School District decided to change its grading system to a pass/fail system for this semester, which is being conducted remotely amidst the COVID-19 epidemic.

While the school claims that the change will not affect student’s potential for getting accepted to colleges, many parents and students, who were not consulted about this change, disagree.

In light of this, a petition has begun to circulate, requesting that the district move back to a traditional grading system.

One White Bear student, Shanyn Furlong, commented on the petition, saying that this new grading system will likely prevent her from entering college.

“I had horrible grades last year which affected my GPA poorly. This year I decided I wanted to go to college but in order to go I need a higher gpa. I began working really hard getting good grades and saw my gpa improve a lot but if I can’t continue increasing it my shot at college is gone,” she wrote.

“Although this benefits students who struggle with online learning, this can be hurtful to AP students and students who have worked very hard to maintain good grades,” says Michael Hoffman, who started the petition. The petition calls for students to be able to choose whether they want to be graded by pass/no pass or by the traditional grading scale.

“In regard to how this will impact admission to a post secondary institution, many colleges and universities around the state of Minnesota have communicated the pass/no pass model will not have a negative impact on a student’s admission status,” says the school, in a letter sent to students and parents.

Despite this, the fact remains that students graded on a pass/fail system will not be given the same opportunity to improve their GPAs as their peers around the state who still have the opportunity to earn As.