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High school student starts petition advocating pass/fail grading this semester

Krista Morrell, of Phoenix, is a high school student on a mission.

On Monday, after reading a New York Times article about the challenges of grading students during a pandemic, and talking with some friends, she decided to set up a petition on Change.org, the results of which she intends to deliver to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.

The petition describes the COVID-19 pandemic as “perhaps the most disruptive event in modern education history” and asks that grades for this semester follow a pass/fail model.

“Students have been struggling to work in this new environment,” she wrote. “We appreciate how hard our teachers are trying to deliver online education. We are all learning to work together in a new way. This will take time.”

The petition describes student confusion about the inconsistent implementation of new learning technologies and techniques, added stress and worry about the pandemic, limited access to teachers and counselors, and added challenges some students face including lack of appropriate technology, parents who aren’t able to work at home or  support learning, and family situations that require older students to care for younger siblings during the day.

“In this extremely distressing reality, we ask for your understanding,” her petition pleads. “It is a stretch to expect us to perform as well as we would in a normal school environment.”

Krista’s original goal was to reach 100 signatures. As of Tuesday afternoon, as her petition had topped 200, she changed the goal to 500.

Read the petition here.


Krista Morrell is a student at Arcadia High School. She dances with The School of Ballet Arizona and volunteers as a peer counselor for Teen Lifeline. She has written articles for Raising Arizona Kids as a student intern.

RELATED: What should Arizona schools do about grades?

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