East metro school district changes grading system due to distance learning

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As his junior year comes to a close, 17-year-old Nick Pape isn't feeling the excitement of the end.

"I’m not as much angry and mad, I’m more disappointed and upset with the way they handled this," he said.

The East Ridge High School student worked hard, with a 3.5 GPA goal for the end of the year.

But this week, he learned his distance learning grades won't count toward his cumulative GPA.

"To me it’s taught me, is a commitment really a commitment?" he questioned.

At the start of distance learning, South Washington County School District parents and students were told grading would be the traditional A to F scale.

The district has since made a change; Now, students can earn an A or B, or a Pass/No Pass, but none of it will count toward a student's cumulative GPA.

"It’s not equitable to the kids who were counting on the GPA based on what the district sent out," said Rhonda Pape, Nick's mom.

The district says the change was in fact made based on equity, stating two grading systems is not equitable and adding, "There is no way to compare the current trimester to any other grading period."

Osseo Area Schools made an adjustment and is now allowing grades to count toward cumulative GPAs after hearing from its community.

"Why is it that other districts like Stillwater, South St. Paul, and North St. Paul kept the policy that we had in place on April 8 where they can have the choice of the letter grade counting toward their GPA," Rhonda Pape questioned.

A change.org petition, started by students, now has roughly 5,000 signatures.

Pape hopes the community feedback will promote a change.

When asked what he'd like to see happen, Nick Pape responded, "The superintendent go back on his decision and reinstate the commitment that he made to the district on April 8, which allows grades to be added to the cumulative GPA," Nick Pape said.

The district did say in a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, "If seniors are placed in a unique situation where a post-secondary institution requests a cumulative GPA with this trimester included, we can calculate it."

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