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Students pass courses despite failing grades

Posted at 4:56 PM, Jan 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 14:32:19-05

GREENFIELD, Ind. – If you fail a required high school class, in most schools it means you need to take that class again. But that’s no longer the case in Greenfield, where a new policy that just took place is turning that idea on its head.

It’s all about making sure students graduate on time.

The new policy applies to three different courses: Algebra 1, English 10 and Biology. All three are required by the State of Indiana in order to obtain a diploma.

But not every student can pass, and that’s where the policy comes in.

The school board voted last month to allow end-of-course assessments to count for credit. So if a student fails, say, Algebra 1, but passes the state’s end-of-course assessment on the subject, they will get the necessary credit and will not have to take the course again.

“This isn’t for kids who are vying for the valedictorian spot,” Dr. Harry Olin said. “These are students who are going to have lower GPAs, who are struggling to stay interested for 4 years.”

Olin says it’s not a new idea; the state approved this option years ago. But a few districts have jumped on board.

Opting to try out the program, to be clear, bumps a failing student up just a notch. If they pass the end-of-course assessment, they’ll at best get a D instead of an F. It’s not great for getting into college, but it’s enough to get the diploma.

The policy has already made a big difference for some kids. We’ve learned 26 students who were slated to re-take a course this semester – because they failed it previously – were allowed to move on and take a new subject because they proved through testing that they had mastered the previous one.

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