School Officials: Real Kids with Real Grades Would Be Hit by Performance Plus

School Officials: Real Kids with Real Grades Would Be Hit by Performance Plus

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Nearly three-quarters of Granite District junior high and high school students received at least one grade of C-minus or lower last year, which would have meant no credit for that course if they had been under the standards in the state's Performance Plus proposed educational reforms.

The district's statistical review of secondary students' grades and test results showed that Performance Plus plan will affect many more students than originally thought, said Assistant Superintendent Linda Mariotti.

The idea that "Performance Plus will only impact a handful of students "is perhaps fallacious," Mariotti said. "If you look at real kids with real grades, we're talking about a potential impact on more than just a handful of kids."

Performance Plus is the state Board of Education's proposed model to create competency-based education in Utah, as required by the Legislature. The model would stress what students can show they know instead of how many hours they've sat through class. It also seeks $203 million in new money to make sure the state can give help to struggling students as young as kindergarten to best prepare them to meet the new standards.

Following dozens of public meetings, the state school board is fine-tuning the proposal and will vote on it again Oct. 29.

Under the proposal, students would have to receive a C or better year-end grade on 15 state-required units and pass a Criterion Referenced Test given at the end of the school year to receive credit. Students also could otherwise demonstrate their competency in ways to be defined by the state school board.

Under the current system, only students with an "F" grade receive no credit. In the Granite District, 6.7 percent of grades given last year to secondary students fell into this category.

Under the proposed plan, it is estimated that the district would need to provide three times the current number of student interventions and remediations to ensure that students meet the proposed minimal "C" standard, Mariotti said.

Granite educators oppose using the CRT as an independent graduation requirement, preferring that the CRT be simply one element of the grading scheme.

Most grades given in the district are A's, B's and C's, Mariotti's research shows. And, typically, students with those grades tend to score at acceptable levels on the CRTs.

But some don't and therefore would not receive credit, even if they are A students, Mariotti's research shows.

On the flip side, some D and F students score high on the CRT, but that wouldn't be enough to award them credit under the proposal, either.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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