Shaler considers dropping floor on lowest grade possible
Shaler Area School District leaders are looking into revising a policy that could eliminate limits on the lowest grade a student can receive.
Now, students can earn the highest score of 100 percent and the lowest score of 55 percent on report cards. The policy was intended to provide a “safety net” for students who have an extenuating circumstance or experience a tragedy; however, the policy is being used by students to avoid completing assignments while still passing a class, Superintendent Wes Shipley said.
“We cannot continue to have a catchall of 55 percent that allows students to walk away from their responsibilities,” Shipley said.
Under the grading scale, an F is 63.49 percent and lower.
Shipley assembled a committee of teachers to recommend a solution. They found that in the 2012-13 school year, the 55-percent floor was used 1,073 times in the high school, including 185 times on midterms and 453 times on final exams.
“I've seen (this type of policy) before,” Shipley said. “I've never seen it abused the way it's happening.”
The committee recommended lowering the floor to 30 percent as the lowest percentage a student could get on a report card and eliminating that lower limit on midterms and final exams.
However, some school board members questioned the need to set the lowest percentage recorded at all.
“It's for extenuating circumstances, and I'm thinking the number of or percentage of extenuating circumstances doesn't warrant this,” board member Suzanna Donahue said.
“When we have on our wall ‘We strive for excellence' … this doesn't say that to me.”
High school Principal Tim Royall said teachers work with students who are in extenuating circumstances, and they do not need a grading floor in the policy to do that.
“My personal opinion is to have a zero floor across the board,” Royall said. “I think it would encourage children to work harder. I would highly recommend natural grades.”
Shipley said he would take the school board's concerns back to the committee for a revised recommendation.
Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- North Allegheny grad nets scholarships at national competition
- Hampton's Route 8, Duncan Avenue turning lanes face delay
- Flea, Vendor and Crafter Market in McCandless to benefit Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
- Hampton’s part-time officer earns full-time promotion
- 3 honeybee hives placed on Mt. Alvernia campus in Millvale to help pollinate garden
- Guests share thoughts on faith during feast at Richland mosque
- Reading at Northern Tier Regional Library could lead to prizes
- Eden Hall 6th-graders take stand against cancer
- North Hills graduate helps rowing team excel at Eastern Sprints
- Shaler Area hires interim superintendent