News 93.1 KFBK interview with Jill Yoshikawa of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Pondering Progressive Grade Policies

Yesterday, I discussed how changes to academic letter grades may impact students, educators and families with Aubrey Aquino of KFBK News Radio, here in Sacramento, CA. Some school district officials, like those in Sacramento City Unified School District, Oakland Unified School District and Los Angeles Unified School District, will no longer award D’s or F’s to students failing to meet…

Continue Reading

Report Car

Pass/No Pass Grades and College Admissions

In response to the historic health crisis, many school district officials sent millions of students home with little or no planning for the continuity of their education. Thus, as they implemented Emergency Learning, hastily shifting whole schools from brick and mortar buildings to virtual settings, many also changed grading policies, seeking to relieve stress for students and their families.  In…

Continue Reading

Required Math Courses Changing at the University of California (UC)

Students applying to the University of California (UC) for Fall 2022 admissions and beyond can now fulfill their third year of required mathematics with a variety of math courses, no longer required to take Integrated Math III, Algebra II or an equivalent. However, potential first year UC applicants should still take a Geometry or Geometry-equivalent course as one of their…

Continue Reading

Quote: Doing the little things means everything

When Working With Teachers, Be Proactive

Hello Students: As you’re calculating how long you can wait to turn in assignments yet still “make the grade” before the end of the school year, also consider that many teachers are also (very) eagerly anticipating summer vacation (possibly even more than you). Thus, teachers, who have navigated an extraordinarily complex school year and are subject to human limits, may…

Continue Reading

Zoom School.Joe Visitacion

Virtual Learning at a Cost

In virtual school, where the learning process is digitalized, students are struggling to access assignments, and to demonstrate mastery of the curriculum being presented, therefore, how can it not be that the potential for greater learning is lost?  Students learning virtually must navigate and utilize a sundry of online learning tools, reducing their time to understand concepts. For example, high…

Continue Reading


Do I Take the May 2021 AP Exams?

For students questioning whether to take the AP exams, wondering if they’d score a 3 or higher to merit college credits, especially since adjusting to virtual learning may have detracted from learning subject material, I offer the following advice:   First, consider what information on the test may not be presented in class before the test date, and what effort would…

Continue Reading

The Mental Health of the Young

March 13, 2020 is Gen Z’s “Day of Infamy”, when K-12 school campuses closed due to COVID-related health risks, sequestering an entire generation of youth in the midst of their coming of age. Amidst the sudden, and now ever-extending health emergency, precipitating continued distance learning and canceled extracurricular activities, the emotional toll on teens only exacerbates existing pressures.  But there…

Continue Reading

Put Down Your #2 Pencils, The University of California Eliminates SAT/ACT Scores: Part 3

As part of a series of posts, I’ll analyze each of the University of California’s (UC) 14 Comprehensive Review factors which admissions officers will apply to select their incoming first year and transfer classes. The first post can be reviewed here, and in this second post, the following factor will be examined:  Number of, content of and performance in academic…

Continue Reading

Why Do You Want to Attend College?

As an educational consultant, when I ask the question in the title, students and their parents are often stunned and momentarily speechless. Parents usually look at their kids, shrugging their shoulders, as if to communicate, “She’s asking you, you answer.” Then, kids often confess that although they expect to attend college, they’ve never really considered the reasons why they personally…

Continue Reading

Ahead of the Curve: Week of April 27, 2020

Amidst the COVID-19 health crisis disrupting educational and instructional continuity, students, parents, and educators are asking and being asked questions about the current educational process, which is also spurring discussions about the value of education.   The following is a selection of education-related news stories from the past few weeks, offering insights about the shifts in both K-12 and higher…

Continue Reading

Easy Does It

School district officials around the country are struggling to define how instruction will continue, and more importantly how students will be evaluated, given that school sites will be closed through the end of the school year. Some district administrators have decided to emulate the actions of many US colleges, and implement a Pass/No Pass grading policy. With little discussion of…

Continue Reading

Top 25 Nationally Ranked Universities Adopt Pass/No Pass-Style Grades for Spring 2020

To date, thirteen of the top twenty-five US News & World Report nationally ranked universities, all adopted Pass/No Pass-style grading systems for the spring term, due to the COVID-19 health crisis: Princeton #1, Harvard #2, Columbia #3, Yale #3, Massachusetts Institute of Technology #3, University of Pennsylvania #6, Stanford University #6, Johns Hopkins University #10, Dartmouth #12, Brown #14, Cornell…

Continue Reading