Will Schofield, Hall County Schools superintendent, said Tuesday the state school board should allow for postsecondary option courses in math and English for students who likely will graduate from high school but have little to no chance to pass entrance tests for college or technical schools.
He also said Hall County would develop the needed course materials and have them online and available for the entire state by June 15 — and he asked for $1 million from the state to provide that.
Schofield said after his presentation that Hall County has the curriculum for the program.
The Hall County superintendent based his request on his view of statewide numbers for students. He said about half of the state’s high school students are capable of being admitted to postsecondary education.
That means half are not eligible, he said. Of that number, many are high school graduates but do not have the math or English skills to get to college or technical training.
Schofield said he bases his proposal on the educational research of Benjamin Bloom, who he said showed “you can teach almost any child almost anything” with enough time.
“You teach it over and over and over, and you teach it differently,” Schofield said.
He proposed that students starting their junior year in high school be assessed, and those who show significant deficits in English or math be put into the postsecondary courses. He said schools should “take a really careful look at these third-year students.”
Schofield said the proposal also is based on the accepted notion that “100 percent of adults in 2016 need to have access” to postsecondary training.
“They don’t have postsecondary options, and we can make that better,” Schofield said.
He proposed the students take assessments before and after the “postsecondary courses.” The pre-test will be the Accuplacer diagnostic assessment, and the post-test would be the Accuplacer test. If the student reaches the level needed to get into technical school, he or she could get postsecondary training.
If the student goes on to take college level English and/or math courses in the technical college, those credits would transfer to another Georgia college if he or she chose to pursue a four-year degree.
He said the postsecondary math and English courses would be approved as core classes for high school credit, if the board approves.
Schofield said after his presentation that he has been told the board will vote on his proposal at its November meeting.
If other students have the ability and interest to pursue higher math, “this is not going to hold them back,” he said.
Schofield told the board the curriculum would take standards from existing courses. He prepared a chart for the board that shows standards for the postsecondary courses versus the total standards in regular curriculum. Those standards ranged from 8 to 42 percent of the regular curriculum. In English, the course would have 67 percent of the standards in the regular curriculum.
If some change is not made, Schofield said, those students will have no options. Instead, they “will wake up when they’re 25 and say, ‘What in the world am I going to do?’”