2012-01-12 / News

Principal reserving judgment on new grading scale

By Cheryl Holladay

As the end of the first semester of the 2011-12 school year approaches, Houghton Lake High School Principal Brent Cryderman is reserving judgment on the school’s “no D” policy, put into place in September.

“We’ll have a better understanding of student performance in the A,B,C,E, construct after Jan. 23,” he said.

The current cut-off to earn credit for a class is 69.5%, he said.

“We know many students are meeting that expectation and rising to C students,” he said.

The number of students failing classes is “about the same” as this time last year, he said, and he is not sure the switch from trimesters to semesters had much of an impact.

“Some students are working harder,” he said, “and some students are legitimately struggling,” he said.

The school will continue to provide academic intervention and after-school tutoring, he said, and many teachers have offered extra support if students ask for it.

There will be two parent-teacher conferences scheduled for February. In addition, parents may use the Parent Connect link on the district’s web site, www.hlcsk12.net, to monitor their child’s grades, assignments and absences.

Cryderman said the staff is always trying to be more efficient in providing feedback to parents and students. He noted that many kids fall in the 65-69% “bubble.”

“An even closer look at the failure data shows that the number of students in the 65%-69% failing range has increased, this looks to be the result of students who were in the low 60’s rising up closer to the new 70% passing mark,” Houghton Lake High School Academic Interventionist Eddie Johns said.

Cryderman said the reason for the change in the grading scale is that “we’re living in a system that has historically accepted minimum proficiency.” He said the move is consistent with what Michigan has done with its MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) and MME (Michigan Merit Exam) cut scores.

“[We’re] expecting a higher minimum for our high school graduates,” he said, adding that the district wants its graduates to be competitive in the world of work and college. He credited his staff for taking on the challenge.

Superintendent Kevin Murphy announced Monday that a community forum is planned for Jan. 18 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Houghton Lake High School library on the grading changes at the high school.

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