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Schools weigh use of college credits

The addition of a quality point to community college classes has school officials worried that some students may have an unfair advantage at receiving a higher grade point average (GPA).
“We cannot allow someone to buy (the valedictorian position) by taking community college classes,” said Elaine Jenkins, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
Students who take community college classes have to provide their own transportation to the class and back.
This makes it more likely that students who can afford their own cars will take more community college classes and earn the weighted grades.
The community college classes were previously worth four quality points each, which is the same as regular high school classes.
The State Board of Education approved the addition of a quality point through an agreement that involved both the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Community College System.
Jenkins proposed to the Lincoln County Board of Education’s curriculum committee on Monday night that the number of community college classes a student takes be limited. The motive would be to make a more level playing field for students of different backgrounds.
Having equity among students competing for titles such as valedictorian and salutatorian has been a goal of the school system.
Even students who come from different counties are treated in a manner that makes GPAs more equal.
If the student from another county had weighted grades from classes or programs that are unavailable to Lincoln County students, they do not receive the weighted credit.
Students who compete for the title of valedictorian often put themselves under intense pressure.
“They know to be that valedictorian or salutatorian they have to take every AP class available,” said Superintendent Jim Watson.
Often times awarding a valedictorian position comes down to a difference in a thousandth of a point between students.
School officials and board members also took time at the curriculum committee meeting to discuss ridding the school system of valedictorians and salutatorians.
“To me, it’s too much stress,” said Joan Avery, chairman of the curriculum committee. “There’s a lot of hurt feelings on the student’s parts.”
Instead, high schools may focus on honoring the school’s top ten students or top 10 percent of students.
Plans have been made to research the possibility. by Sarah Grano

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