Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo
California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
August 16, 2021

Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:

Information about Assembly Bill 104

I want to thank our educational leaders for the extraordinary work conducted in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and for assessing the needs and finding the ways to provide the supports and assistance that our students needed most during the last school year.

While local educational agencies (LEAs) always have the authority and flexibility to act without state law, Assembly Bill (AB) 104,which was signed into law on July 1, 2021, by the Governor, will expand learning and credit recovery options for students who may have suffered learning loss during the 2020–21 school year.

In summary, the law provides:

Section 1 (Grade Retention): Families of students who were enrolled in grades K–11 for the 2020–21 school year can submit a written request for their child to be retained in the same grade, if half of the student’s grades were deficient.

Section 2 (Grade Change to Pass/No Pass): Families of high school students can submit a Grade Change Form (provided by the LEA) to change letter grades attained during the 2020–21 school year to a Pass or No Pass grade on the student’s transcript without negatively affecting their GPA.

Section 3 (Local Graduation Requirement Exemption): Students who were enrolled in their third or fourth year of high school during the 2020–21 school year, and who are not on track to graduate in the 2020–21 or 2021–22 school year, will be allowed to complete the California State Minimum High School Graduation Requirements pursuant to Education Code Section 51225.3. This opportunity may include, but is not limited to, completion of the courses through a fifth year of instruction, credit recovery, or other opportunity to ensure students graduate with their high school diploma. This exempts students from completing the additional LEA-adopted high school graduation requirements.

A more detailed description of the bill can be found on the California Legislative Information AB-104 Pupil instruction: retention, grade changes, and exemptions (2021-2022) web page at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB104 and the CDE Postsecondary AB 104 resources at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/ps/.

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Pete Callas, Division Director, College and Career Transition Division, by phone at 916-319-0893 or by email at gradechange2021@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

TT:mc

Attachment

Assembly Bill 104 Fact Sheet

On July 1, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 104 (Gonzalez), which contained an urgency clause that takes effect immediately.

SUMMARY
Section 1: Student Retention
  • A student is eligible for retention if enrolled in grades K–11 in the 2020–21 school year and received deficient grades for at least one-half of their courses.
  • The retention provisions of AB 104 do not apply to students who were in twelfth grade in the 2020–21 school year.
  • The family of an eligible student must submit a written request to their local educational agency (LEA) to retain their child in the same grade for the 2021–22 school year. Upon receiving the request, the LEA shall offer the family a consultation with the parent, student, administrator, and teacher(s).
  • The consultation must occur within 30 calendar days of receiving the written request and must include:
  • Discussion of all available learning recovery options, including access to prior semester courses the student received a D or F letter grade, or some other form of credit recovery.
  • Consideration of the student’s academic data and any other information relevant to whether retention is in the student’s best interests, academically and socially.
  • Discussion about research on the effects of student retention and the types of interventions and supports that are beneficial.
  • The retention decision must be consistent with an eligible student’s individualized education program.
  • The LEA shall notify a parent with the final determination of the decision regarding the student’s retention within 10 calendar days of the consultation.
Section 2: Pass/No Pass Grades
  • Families of students enrolled in high school in the 2020–21 school year may apply to have a letter grade changed to a Pass or No Pass (P/NP) grade.
  • Grade changes must not negatively affect a student’s grade point average.
  • The California State University shall, and private postsecondary educational institutions and the University of California are encouraged to:
    • Accept for admission purposes, and without prejudice, a transcript with a P/NP grade instead of a letter grade for any coursework for an applicant who had enrolled in a high school in the state during any school year from the 2020–21 to 2023–24, inclusive.
  • The California Department of Education (CDE) must post a list of all postsecondary educational institutions within the state that have indicated they will accept P/NP grades. See the CDE AB 104 Postsecondary Institution Survey Results web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/ps/ab104surveyresults.asp.
  • The CDE, within 15 calendar days of the operative date of AB 104, will post a Grade Change Application template for use by LEAs. See the CDE Postsecondary web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/ps/.
  • Within 15 days of CDE posting the application template, LEAs serving high school students must post on their websites and provide written notice to students and families of the grade change option.
  • The notice must include:
    • The link to the grade change request application.
    • A list of postsecondary educational institutions that accept P/NP grades.
    • A statement informing families that some postsecondary educational institutions, including those from other states, may not accept a P/NP grade.
  • Families have 15 calendar days from when LEAs provide written notice and post on their websites the option to submit a grade change application.
  • LEAs have 15 days from receipt of the grade change application to update a transcript and notify a student and family of the grade changes.
Section 3: Local Graduation Requirements Exemption
  • LEAs must exempt students enrolled in their third or fourth year of high school in 2020–21 and who are not on track to graduate in four years from all coursework and other requirements adopted by the governing body that is in addition to the California Minimum High School Graduation Requirements, Education Code Section 51225.3.
  • LEAs must provide these students the opportunity to complete the California Minimum High School Graduation Requirements to earn a high school diploma. This opportunity may include, but is not limited to, completion of the courses through a fifth year of instruction, credit recovery, or other opportunity to ensure students graduate. This exempts students from completing the additional LEA-adopted high school graduation requirements.
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Recently Posted in Letters

  • CA Labor-Management Initiative Summer Institute (added 10-Apr-2024)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents regarding the 2024 California Labor-Management Initiative Summer Institute.
  • California Apprenticeship Summit (April 17, 2024) (added 03-Apr-2024)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals regarding the California Apprenticeship Summit.
  • Invite to 2025 California Schools to Watch Program (added 03-Apr-2024)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Middle School Principals regarding an Invitation to Participate in the 2025 California Schools to Watch program.
  • Workforce Readiness Week and Labor History Month (added 29-Mar-2024)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators regarding Workforce Readiness Week (April 29 to May 3, 2024) and May is Labor History Month.
  • 2024 California Student Mock Election (added 27-Mar-2024)
    Letter from the California Department of Education and the Secretary of State to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Middle and High School Principals regarding the 2024 California Student Mock Election.

  • Personal Finance Education Summit (added 26-Mar-2024)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals regarding tomorrow's Personal Finance Education Summit.
  • HS Voter Education Weeks (April 15–26, 2024) (added 22-Mar-2024)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and High School Principals from the California Department of Education and the California Secretary of State regarding High School Voter Education Weeks.
  • 2025 California Teachers of the Year Program (added 20-Mar-2024)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals regarding the 2025 California Teachers of the Year Program.
  • Cultural Observances During the Spring of 2024 (added 08-Mar-2024)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents regarding inclusive practices to support all students’ cultural observances during the Spring of 2024.
  • 2024 Classified School Employees of the Year (added 05-Mar-2024)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals regarding the 2024 Classified School Employees of the Year Program.