Grade forgiveness boosts online classes


Kristina Youngson

Working in an online virtual lab classroom, several students fulfill their online requirement in order to graduate.

Helen McSorley and Brianna Sandoval, Staff reporters

With the federal budget quickly going down the drain, instead of sending failing students to summer school, the Florida Department of Education has introduced the idea of re-taking courses online. And so starts the ongoing phenomenon known as grade forgiveness.

Junior Alyssa Feliciano said that she decided to re-take Algebra II online after earning a “C” in the class, and was able to bring her grade back up to an “A”.

“Because I retook Algebra II over the summer, I went into this year feeling really confident in my math skills,” Feliciano said. “[Retaking the class] helped because most of the time the first semester of math classes is a review of last year’s material.”

Feliciano also said that she struggled for the opportunity to retake the class.

“The process to take the course online was difficult because the school wasn’t too excited with me trying to retake the class,” Feliciano said. “It took some fighting but they let me do it.”

As required by the 2015 Florida State Statute, if students receives a “D” or an “F” in a class, they have the option to retake it during the summer online. If the student takes the course again online and they receive a “C” or higher, only
the new grade will be used when calculating the student’s grade point average. This can be applied to both elective and required courses, but if a required high school course is taken in middle school and they receive a “C” or lower, students are also eligible for grade forgiveness.

Guidance counselor Kimberly Strauch said remedial online courses have both pros and cons.

“Overall I think it is a good thing for students to be able to make up a grade especially if something happened in their family or there were extenuating circumstances,” Strauch

Working in an online virtual lab classroom, several students fulfill their online requirement in order to graduate.

said. “Do I think it is necessarily something that students should be given the opportunity to do more than once? No. I don’t want grade forgiveness to be taken advantage of, especially at West Shore. Students need to keep their grades up to stay here anyway.”

Strauch said she doesn’t have concerns about students who are required to make up the class over the summer after failing.

“They should have acquired at least a good foundation in the classroom, so based on having the class twice they should be okay to be moving up to the next course,” Strauch said.

On the other hand, math teacher Susan Orton said she thinks students who take online classes are not learning as much as they would in a classroom setting.

“Students who take online classes are not as well prepared to enter the next level of a subject,” Orton said. “You can ask any math teacher. When a student takes any online course, whether it is for grade forgiveness or they took it in the place of a class, they will have gaps [in their education]. Online classes are taught so differently because you are learning independently and your exams and tests are not proctored.”

Orton also said she doesn’t agree that students should be able to retake a year long course for grade forgiveness because the grade will be taken off the transcript.

“A future school should be able to see if a student was failing a class. Honestly, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with a student retaking a class, but some students will do it just to get an A because it’s easier,” Orton said. “West Shore is a place for students to actually push themselves and try to accelerate as much as they can. Some students just have to put in that extra effort into their work and then they can get a good grade.”