By Julie Watts

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s no secret that students struggled with distance learning. A new law was intended to ensure that last year’s grades don’t impact kids’ academic future.

But the deadline to take advantage is it is just days away and CBS13 has compiled data that reveals some families may not realize they have options.

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The law is AB 104 and it’s intended to help kids who got bad grades last year in a number of ways.

The governor extended a key deadline last week — allowing kids to essentially erase bad grades from their transcripts, but they must act before Friday.

And we found big discrepancies when we asked schools: how many kids are taking advantage of this?

The pandemic learning loss is undeniable and many students have the grades to prove it. But AB 104 was intended, in part, to help replace those bad letter grades with pass/no pass on their transcript instead.

That means for high schools students a C or a D might not impact their GPA, keeping them eligible for college and financial aid because the law requires Cal State schools to accept the new transcripts without prejudice and many other big-name colleges have voluntarily agreed.

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We asked about a dozen local districts how many kids have taken advantage of this option and responses varied.

Most of the schools we contacted did not have the data available.

However, in Western Placer, where data indicated roughly a third of students had at least one D or F last year, at least 118 high school students had their grades changed to pass/no pass.

In the Twin Rivers School District, which had a similar rate of Ds and Fs, only one student changed their grade to pass no/pass but 545 juniors and seniors took advantage of another clause in the law allowing them to reduce the number of credits required to graduate so they can graduate on time despite falling grades.

Students also had the option to do a fifth year of high school and elementary kids had the option of repeating a grade.

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But the extended deadline applies specifically to those who want to turn bad grades into a pass/fail, allowing them to salvage their GPA and chances at college. Those students have until the end of the week. After that, schools can voluntarily agree to change their grades, but are not required to by law.

Julie Watts