High school credit for middle school students

March 16, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

A stream of students and parents at a community meeting Tuesday night told the Washington County Board of Education that middle schoolers in the system's most challenging classes should get some credit for their endeavors.

"A middle school student who has the aptitude, the motivation and the skills certainly deserves recognition - and the credit," Ann Lewandowski said.

Lewandowski, whose Smithsburg Middle School seventh-grader is taking algebra, echoed the appeals of other parents when she told the board she believed students in the hardest math courses should get high school credit for their efforts.


About 20 students and parents attended the forum.

The board earlier this month passed on first reading a new policy that would allow middle school students taking algebra, geometry and some qualifying language courses to receive high school credit. The proposal would not reduce the number of credits students would have to take when they reached high school. Parents and students told the board that's not right.

"To speak of giving middle school credit, but then not actually applying that credit, is not doing justice either," Elaine Johnston said.

The proposal, as it was adopted on first reading, would require students earning high school credit as middle schoolers to take four math credits in high school and two language credits, just as their classmates do.

Students and parents said that arrangement forces students to take a class they may not need or not otherwise want, and it shuts out the opportunity to take other courses.

School board member Bernadette Wagner, who sits on the curriculum committee, said the goal of maintaining the high school requirements was to ensure high-achieving middle schoolers would continue taking rigorous courses. But she acknowledged at the end of the meeting that the requirement might turn off students, who otherwise would be inclined to take the harder classes early.

Wagner agreed with one speaker who suggested the students be able to bank those credits to free their schedules for other interests. The board has not set a time to consider a second reading of the proposal.

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