AB104 - Grade Change & Retention Policy
The state of California recently approved Assembly Bill No. 104 (AB 104) that provides expanded learning and credit recovery options for students who may have struggled during the pandemic-impacted 2020-21 school year.
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AB 104 requires California school districts to implement a supplemental policy regarding the retention of students, in grades TK-11, who received deficient grades in at least half of their coursework during the 2020-21 academic year. Deficient grades are considered “Not Met” on the progress report for elementary students and D, F, I, or NM on the report card for secondary students.
Within 30 days of receiving a written retention request from a parent/guardian, the school will conduct a consultation meeting with the parent, student, administrator, and teacher to discuss all available learning recovery options. Depending on the level, specific supports and interventions may be offered. For students receiving Special Education services, an individualized education plan (IEP) must be conducted. The school will notify the parent/guardian within 10 days of the consultation meeting of the final decision regarding the retention request.
Sharing research on the effects of retention is required as part of the consultation meeting. The following three studies are cited as "quality research" on retention on the California Department of Education's website:
- Jimerson, Shane, Sarah M. Woehr, and Amber M. Kaufman. 2007. Grade Retention and Promotion: Information for Parents (pdf). Bethesda, Maryland: National Association for School Psychologists (accessed April 28, 2016).
Grade retention is one of the most powerful predictors of high school dropout. In adolescence, retained students are more likely to experience problems such as poor interactions with peers, disliking school, behavior problems, and lower self-esteem.
- Learning Disabilities Association. 1998. To Promote or Retain? Pittsburgh, PA:Learning Disabilities Association (accessed July 6, 2015).
The weight of the evidence of literally hundreds of studies shows that retaining children does not produce higher achievement. Rather than flunking students, schools should provide high quality instruction for children who find learning difficult.
- Thompson, C. and E. Cunningham. 2000. Retention and Social Promotion: Research and Implications for Policy (pdf). ERIC Digest Number 161 (accessed July 6, 2015).
Retaining students, regardless of the grade at which they are retained, increases the likelihood that they will drop out of school. Consistent with the Chicago findings, the advantage for retained students declined each year and disappeared altogether after three years.
Additionally, John Hattie's research on "What works best in education?" found that retention has a negative effect on student learning.
How To Apply
For a student in TK-11, parents/guardians must complete and submit the following Request for Retention Form to request a consultation for retention meeting:
AB 104 provides a process to request a letter grade a student received in the 2020-21 school year be changed to Pass/No Pass on the transcript.
- Post-secondary institutions that have notified the CDE that they will accept, for admission purposes, a transcript with a Pass or No Pass instead of a letter grade for an applicant.
- The University of California (UC) response to COVID-19 regarding admissions and financial aid.
- The California State University (CSU) publication about COVID-19 impacts on admissions policies and practices.
- The California Community Colleges letter detailing their efforts to mitigate impacts of COVID-19.
- The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) activities serving high school juniors and seniors.
How to Apply
A parent/guardian (or student who is 18 years of age or older) must complete and submit a Grade Change Application (grades 9-11). Families have until August 15, 15 calendar days from the date the district posts the form, to submit a request. Districts are prohibited from accepting late applications.
Update: The California Legislature has extended the deadline for grade change requests. Please complete and submit a grade change application no later than October 15.
Students who were in their third or fourth year of high school in the 2020-21 school year and not on track to graduate in four years as measured by PAUSD's 220 credit requirement will be provided with an opportunity to graduate using the California Minimum State Graduation Requirements (see table below).
|California Minimum State Graduation Requirements|
|Mathematics, including Algebra 1||20|
|Visual and Performing Arts,
Language Other than English, or
Career Technical Education
How To Apply
PAUSD will contact students eligible for this exemption.