Bad grades from students’ past should not harm their future


Luciane Gasperis

At the next Board of Trustees meeting, the El Camino College administrators have an opportunity to make a strong commitment to students seeking to transfer to universities by approving a change to an academic renewal policy.

Administrative Procedure 4240 (AP 4240) would reduce the amount of time a student has to wait for eligibility to apply for academic renewal from two years to one year. AP 4240 was approved by the College Council on Monday, Sept. 16, and now awaits final approval by the Board of Trustees (BOT).

The Union supports the College Council’s decision to approve AP 4240 and encourages the BOT to vote the same way at its next meeting on Monday, Oct. 21.

Academic renewal is a process in which students may petition to have substandard grades (D, F or WF) be disregarded when calculating their GPAs.

Students are eligible for academic renewal if they have at least a 2.25 GPA in the last 30 units of coursework, or a 2.5 in the last 24 units, which can be completed at any regionally accredited college or university, according to AP 4240.

By reducing academic renewal eligibility to one year, the College Council has taken a major step in the right direction to ensure determined students get a second chance at success without fear of being rejected because of a grade from their past.

Low grades on academic transcripts have the potential to bring down students’ GPAs below the entrance requirements set by their preferred colleges. Furthermore, students that decide to apply to graduate schools in the future could run into the same issue again.

The Union believes that there are many factors that can contribute to a substandard grade that inaccurately reflect a student’s work ethic, dedication or academic potential. Health complications, financial difficulties, family problems and other hardships can derail otherwise steady academic progress.

There are lots of other reasons that students receive substandard grades. However, many students return to school after earning substandard grades in their pasts and, after a break, experience newfound periods of professional and academic maturity. These students should not be prevented from making academic progress due to previous failures.

ECC is a place where people should be able to create opportunities for themselves through study and dedication. Making mistakes or going through a difficult time that adversely affects one’s grades should not hinder future opportunities.

College is not just about picking a program, getting perfect grades and then getting a job. Getting an education is a dynamic process in which students learn not just the content of their courses but also about themselves and their abilities.

By reducing the amount of time required for academic renewal eligibility, students will be able to take advantage of a second chance on their education. Mistakes will happen during the course of getting an education, but that’s part of the learning process.

The Union believes that students with the drive and determination to overcome substandard grades should not continue to be punished throughout the rest of their academic careers.

By making academic renewal a more equitable process, the College Council is expanding opportunities for ECC’s diverse student population. The BOT should do the same.