Alex Dona 0

Make the +.5 Boost for FCPS Honors Retroactive!

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To sum up: This is a petition to make the +.5 weight for honors classes retroactive. In other words, for the class of 2010 and younger, all previous honors classes (through middle school) will have a +.5 boost! This is taken straight from the TJHSST PTSA email sent 6 May 2009. Weighting Honors Classes Our position. All honors classes taken for high school credit, whether during middle school or high school, should be weighted for all FCPS students, beginning with the class of 2010, if those courses are included on their transcripts. This position is consistent with the FCPS School Board motion passed on January 22, 2009, stating that honors classes would be weighted retroactively if �practicable.� Nobody has introduced evidence that retroactive weighting is not practicable. Honors classes can be defined after the effective date issues have been settled. Arguments supporting retroactive weighting of honors classes follow: � According to the FCPS report in December, students were determined to be at a disadvantage when applying for Scholarship and Honors programs because AP, post AP and Honors weighting in FCPS was below the national norm. Why then, would a phasing in of Honors weighting prospectively be sensible Prospective weighting would mean that students would not get the full benefit of increased weighting for another six years (until the present 7th graders are seniors). If increased weighting was a necessary and urgent measure with respect to AP, IB and post AP classes, why is it not the same for Honors classes � Retroactive weighting of honors classes will help families pay college tuition bills, by increasing students� chances of obtaining merit-based scholarships. � Gradually phasing in weights for honors classes will confuse college admissions officers, parents, and students. The Naviance data, which families now use to assist them in the college application process, will become much less useful because weighted GPAs will increase for five more years due the phasing in of honors courses. This confusion also conflicts with a primary goal of changing FCPS grading policy, which was to more accurately communicate the academic achievement of all FCPS students. � If FCPS does not retroactively weight honors courses, FCPS will cast doubt on the rigor of honors courses taken in prior school years. This could apply even at TJ, where the school profile and other documents indicate that all courses are honors, GT, AP or higher. � Assuming that FCPS also implements a 10-point grading scale with pluses and minuses on a prospective basis starting in 2009-10, retroactive weighting reduces the inequity in GPA�s among students of the same graduating class who have taken classes in different years. There will still be some inequity due to differences in grading scales, and the quality points associated with grades under the old and new grading scales � Retroactive weighting of honors courses avoids penalizing students who took difficult honors courses in prior years, rather than seeking to maximize their GPAs by taking non-honors courses. While the rigor of an honors English 9 class may vary from one base school to another, honors classes are more challenging than non-honors courses within every high school. � Extra administrative costs of retroactively weighting honors courses are minimal, since FCPS staff is already identifying the computer codes for all classes that could potentially be weighted prospectively. Indeed, prospective weighting may increase FCPS information technology costs, by requiring more complex coding for five years. � Retroactive weighting of honors courses partly mitigates problems faced by about 50% of FCPS students who took one or more high school classes for credit (usually math and foreign language) during middle school. Without retroactive weighting, many of those students will inadvertently depress their weighted GPA unless they expunge those honors classes � even if they earned an A � from their high school transcripts. � Failure to weight honors courses retroactively will make it more difficult for FCPS to analyze the impact of its grading policy changes, since the weighted GPAs will be distorted by lack of consistency in weighting for honors classes.


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