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Gainesville approves testing, course credit policy

POSTED: September 5, 2013 12:05 a.m.

Eighth-grade students taking high school courses will have those grades count toward their final class ranking.

The final version of this policy was approved at the Tuesday work session of the Gainesville City Board of Education.

The grades earned in middle school won’t be included in a student’s GPA when applied to HOPE scholarship approval, in accordance with the state guidelines.

Board member Delores Diaz had previously voiced concern about how high-school-level courses taken in the eighth grade can impact a student’s GPA.

She asked if the topic would be revisited.

“We’ve been informed by the state that it is highly likely that the state guidelines may change periodically,” replied Sarah Bell, director of academic programs and standards. “I think it would be wise to revisit often.”

Board Chairwoman Maria Calkins said there have been issues over the past couple of years over class rankings.

“I guess maybe we’re a little touchy,” she said. “We just want to make sure that we’ve covered everything.”

Bell said GPA calculation varies between school districts.

“The state has left that under local control,” she explained. “As an example, we’re no longer weighting honors classes because HOPE does not. Other districts do. It just varies.”

She added that parents should be revisiting HOPE scholarship requirements often, as they change regularly.

Currently, advanced placement and dual enrollment classes have an extra 0.5 weighting for HOPE eligibility, which adds to a student’s final grade. For example, a student with a 3.0 average in an AP class would have that bumped up to a 3.5. The weighted grade does not exceed a 4.0.

Gainesville also includes the weighted averages for the AP and dual enrollment classes in a student’s local GPA.

Also included in the approved policy was the procedure for students who want to “opt out” of certain high school classes by taking the End of Course Test per approved subject.

With this policy, students are responsible for the payment for tests, though they will be reimbursed if they successfully attain the class credit. Tests are currently priced at $50. Students must also have parental approval before being allowed to take the test.


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