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Oklahoma City Public Schools to consider grade-changing policy

Oklahoma City public school students who fail a class but pass an end-of-instruction exam could receive a D in the course if a new policy is enacted in the district. The Oklahoma City School Board will hear the proposal at its meeting Monday night.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: April 1, 2013
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Melissa White said she shared pros and cons she has heard from other districts. One of the cons, she said, is that a grade-change policy related to EOI exams only would apply to seven corresponding courses. Students in other classes, like physical science or art, would not have the same opportunity to lift a failing grade.

But state officials question whether grade-switching is a good idea.

“Policies like this are districts' decisions,” said Sherry Fair, a spokeswoman for the state Education Department.

“However, the state Department of Ed does not support policies like this, especially if they take away a teacher's ability to issue a final grade.”

Other districts

Some school districts have policies that require an automatic grade switch.

Putnam City students who pass an EOI but fail a class receive a P on their transcripts instead of an F, spokesman Steve Lindley said. He said student effort hasn't declined because of the policy.

In Tulsa, students also get an automatic P on their transcripts if they pass an EOI but fail a class, said Chris Johnson, assistant superintendent for accountability. He said the policy hasn't hurt student effort because students already are working hard to pass the test in the first place.

“They really try to apply themselves in the class,” Johnson said.

Norman Public Schools does not have such a policy, spokeswoman Shelly Hickman said.

“Students must pass the courses to earn credit,” Hickman said. “We consider the grade earned in the classroom as the most accurate gauge for determining mastery.”

Campbell, the English teacher from John Marshall, said the EOI exams for English aren't a good indicator of all the skills her students learn throughout a school year.

“These are a joke,” Campbell said. “These aren't a real indicator of what a kid can do. They're just a test. They're not real challenging. I don't really think it's a good indicator of my students' knowledge.”

Last year, about three of Campbell students failed her class. This year, only about five are passing.

“It's the worst I have ever seen in my entire life,” she said.

“I'm not doing anything differently. They won't read. They won't do anything.”

She said even if they do pass the EOI, they are not prepared for senior-level English classes.

“That kid could have a zero in that class and have a D on his transcript,” Campbell said. “This is not right for kids. Not right.”


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