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The Student News Website of Francis Howell North High School.

FHNtoday.com

The Student News Website of Francis Howell North High School.

FHNtoday.com

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Policy 2525 Allows Eighth Grade Students to Recieve High School Credit

On Nov. 21, the Board of Education approved a change in Policy 2525 to allow students to receive high school credit for select classes they take in middle school. There are five classes available for students to participate in who want to take advantage of this opportunity. These classes are Algebra I, Spanish I, French I, German I, and challenge science, which resembles honors physical science for freshmen; however, students will not receive an honors point for taking challenge science in middle school. The new policy will be put in place for the 2014-15 school year.

 

This will not be the first time students have been able to receive credit in middle school. The option was available previously for middle schoolers to receive credit for these courses, but this was changed in before the 2005-06 school year. The Board felt that the middle school classes did not meet the same standards the high school courses do.

 

“I think the reason why our district moved away from giving middle school students the high school credits was because we wanted to ensure that students experience taking a course in middle school that is as rigorous as the course they would take as a high school student,” Chris Greiner, Director of Student Learn- ing for FHSD, said. “Years ago, I don’t know that we could say with certainty that a student in a middle school algebra class was getting the same level of instruction, the same exposure to the content, that a student taking a high school algebra class was getting.”

 

The change in policy before 2005-06 upset many. The District received complaints from parents who were not happy with middle schoolers being unable to earn high school credit for these classes. Traci Martinez, who teaches a Spanish I class at Barnwell, was working for the District when this policy was changed and did not approve of the adjustment.

 

“I thought it was really sad because these kids do the same work, they work out of the same book, we pace it the same, they take the same finals, they do everything, but yet they weren’t able to get high school credit for a high school class,” Martinez said.

 

The policy is now being changed and will reintroduce the previous system that gives middle school students high school credit. The academic committee now feels the communication between the middle school teachers and high school teachers is better and their curriculums are almost identical.

 

“We feel like now, because of the amount of collaboration that our teachers are involved in at the middle and high school level, that we’ve increased the rigor at the middle schools to be able to match what they would get in a high school course,” Greiner said. “We feel like there’s a common core for the curriculum.”

 

With this change, people may question how fair it is for the students who took these courses in middle school prior to the 2014-15 school year and how this policy revision will affect them. The committee has decided to give these students the option to use the classes as a high school credit.

 

“They’ll have the option; they are not mandated because the policy change wasn’t around when they were in middle school,” Greiner said. “We wanted to give them the option because they achieved that credit like the students enrolled in eighth grade now.”

 

Current high school students who have taken one of the five courses in middle school can apply for the credit to be on their transcript, affecting their cumulative GPA. Middle schoolers taking any of the five classes starting in 2014-15 will not have an option, the course will automatically be on their transcript.

 

“The only negative I can see is that sometimes in eighth grade they lack maturity, and I would hate to see someone who is generally a straight A student not do well in eighth grade and have a B or a C follow them on their transcript to high school if they really could have done better once they were a little more mature,” Martinez said.

 

Another question that has been raised regarding the fact that it Policy 2525 will allow high school students more leniency their junior and senior year for math and science. If a student takes Algebra I and challenge science in eighth grade, by the time the student is a sophomore, they would have all three math and science credits required for graduation, allowing them to opt out of taking math and science class when they are an upperclassman.

 

“If they’re not taking math their junior or senior year that will definitely have a negative effect on their success in college,” Shelbi Dillon, a math teacher at North, said. “They will probably place lower and they won’t remember what they need.”

 

While students will possibly have the option to only take two years of math and science while in high school, it is not certain whether they will take two years off. With the students already taking algebra and challenge science early, some do not view them as the type to not take advantage of their years in high school as a prep for college.

 

“Eighth graders in algebra are on the college track,” Amy Ridling, an Algebra I teacher at Barnwell, said. “I don’t see any students taking those years off. If they’re not on the four-year track, they’re probably not taking algebra in middle school.”

 

While the policy change gives students more leniency for a couple years of high school, this is also seen as a positive to some. It may be seen as a problem in regards to math and science classes, but can be seen as a positive when referring to languages.

 

“Maybe language wasn’t their thing, so they can get it out of the way, and they can take something else they’re more interested in,” Martinez said. “Now it gives them the opportunity to go all the way up through

level five in any of the languages. I just think it’s a win win.”

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