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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Attendance and grades: Should they be linked?



-Japanese_high_school_classroom2 In Florida, schools aren't supposed to award a high school student credit for a course if the teen doesn't receive at least 135 hours of "bona fide" instruction. Districts may impose stricter penalties for excessive absences, but that's a local choice.

A Virginia school district has for years told kids that if they skip class three times in a quarter without a legit excuse, they will get an automatic F. But now, in much the same spirit as the Hernando discussion over whether to issue zero grades for failure, the Fairfax school district is scrapping that attendance clause.

"There's no hope for that grade at that point," district director of intervention and prevention services Teresa Zutter told the Washington Post. "The student says: 'Why should I try? I can't undo this mistake.'"

The district isn't giving students a free pass to skip, mind you. It's just removing the failure as an immediate consequence.

Like Hernando's grading discussion, this raises questions and probably will generate heated debate. One possible take: Virtual school takes the seat time issue out of the equation, making education about achievement more than attendance. Shouldn't traditional schools take the same approach? Anyone?

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:33am]


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