This is a big deal in Texas since anyone in the top ten percent in the class is automatically accepted at any state university.
Dozens of parents of high school students in the North East Independent School District let school board members know late Monday they’re not happy with how the district calculates class rankings, saying it pushes students out of extracurricular activities and hurts their chances at college admission and scholarships.Superintendent Richard Middleton told the board he’s appointing a committee of staff members, faculty and parents to review a policy in place since 2004-05, in part because of concerns recently raised by parents.
The district measures each student’s academic performance by adding the scores from selected courses: English, math, science, social studies, foreign language, advanced placement and pre-advanced placement. Electives, such as band and sports, don’t add points to a student’s rank.
The policy, Middleton said, was put in place after recommendations by a similar committee to more accurately reflect a student’s true preparedness for college work.
But many parents, who didn’t become aware of the policy until notices of slight modifications were sent out last summer or until the latest rankings were sent out earlier this year, complained it encourages students to abandon extracurricular activities or elective courses, leading to less well-rounded students.
Apparently weighting AP and Honors classes isn’t enough to encourage students to take more AP classes.
Alicia Thomas, associate superintendent for instruction, told the board that under the previous policy “there was a lack of incentive for students to take rigorous class work.”District staff told the board that enrollment in the top 30 advanced placement courses has risen 20 percent since the policy was put in place.
So why are the parents complaining now? Obviously, plenty of students got the message if the enrollments in the classes went up. Why did some parents not get the message? It could be poor communication between the district and the parents. Or it could be just another symptom of people being so self absorbed that they don’t pay attention to mere announcements until it hits them in the face.Ultimately, I don’t think band and athletics should be excluded. How many students are going to take AP Music Theory is there is a disincentive to take band? As for athletics, it would only further isolate athletic programs as feeder programs for college sports. Even colleges include PE colleges when calculating a student’s gpa.