Thursday, May 24, 2018
Education

Pasco schools to keep same GPA formula

LAND O'LAKES — Pasco County high schools are not changing the way they calculate students' grade point averages.

School Board members made that decision clear on Tuesday, when they reaffirmed the current method while considering other student progression plan revisions.

"We thank the parents for bringing this issue forward," board member Joanne Hurley said after the board's unanimous vote to leave the system as-is.

Hurley first brought the question to the board in early November, saying she had received a call from a parent with concerns about how schools calculate grade point averages.

The parent "wanted to know if we have a level playing field" when it comes to the awarding of points for different courses, she said.

Tina Tiede, assistant superintendent for secondary education, responded at the time that the district often gets questions like this as the end of the first semester approaches and class rankings are set. The rules have been in place since the students entered high school, she noted, and making any changes late in the game would come with considerable repercussions.

"We're always very cautious doing it in the middle of the year," Tiede said.

Still, the administration agreed to look at the policies in place, with fairness in mind.

After lengthy discussions, the staff determined that the best course of action would be to do nothing. GPA would be set based on semester grades earned in all courses taken during the regular school day, with all courses taken inside the school building counted in the calculation.

Students would still have to declare whether their courses taken outside school, such as virtual classes, would count upon their enrollment.

Dual enrollment courses would count first and carry heavier weight than regular school courses.

The only exception would remain for students attending Ridgewood High, which is testing a seven-period day, so students earn more credits than the required 24.

Assistant superintendent John Mann said a team of curriculum staff members decided that the best course of action was to recommend sticking with those rules, which are already on the books. Those were the standards the students entered under, he said, and there's no reason to change them now.

The board did tentatively agree to making other small adjustments to the progression plan's graduation requirements, based on changing standards set by the Florida Legislature. They added such things as the state's new end-of-course exam passing rules, and also acknowledged changes to the course mandates in math and science also set by lawmakers.

The policy returns to the board for final approval on Dec. 4. No other revisions are expected.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at [email protected], (813) 909-4614 or on Twitter @jeffsolochek. For more education news visit the Gradebook at tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook.

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