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School Board Studies Lowering High School Passing Grade

Move said to possibly motivate lower-performing students

The Board of education is studying a proposal to lower the high school passing grade to 60 from 67.

The Board of education is studying a proposal to lower the high school passing grade to 60 from 67.

A move to lower the passing grade for Franklin High School students from 67 to 60 is being studied by the Board of Education.

The board at its August meeting pulled a proposed policy that would do just that, saying it needed more time to study the issue.

The new policy, if adopted, would not go into effect until the 2014-15 school year, schools Superintendent Edward Seto said.

The idea for the change was first broached by high school principal James Bevere.

Seto said that Bevere and a committee comprised of school staff researched grading policies from around the state and discovered that the passing grade is 60 in “20 to 25 of the highest-performing districts in the state.”

Conversely, in the lowest-performing districts, he said, the passing grade was 67.

“There’s more data that we’re looking at,” Seto said at the August meeting. “We’re going to continue the research.”

Somerset resident John Felix told the board he didn’t think the change was a good idea.

“I believe a passing grade of 60 is too low, which I fear will result in mediocrity,” he said.

Felix said several considerations that should be addressed in the discussion of the change include whether “current standards are unfair to students,” if there is “any evidence that the current passing grade” cause students to apply themselves less diligently, or if “lowering teh passing grade lead to a higher graduation rate.”

“I would strongly support 65 rather than 60,” he said.

In a later interview, Seto said that some research has shown that lowering passing grades motivates students who would normally perform poorly.

“The more challenged kids will be more motivated to hang in there and stay in school and get that passing grade,” he said “The change would not affect the kids who would do well anyway.”

The idea needs to be studied more thoroughly, Seto said.

“This kind of issue takes a lot of research,” he said.

What do you think?

Should the high school passing grade be lowered to 60?

Your Thoughts

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