Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Parents and students confronted the Hayden School Board on Wednesday night about frustrations they had with "participation points" in the classroom, and concerns the points were not being awarded fairly.
Participation points are points awarded to students for attending and participating in classes.
Several parents said their children told them they were losing grade points for being absent from school when they had excuses. Some said there was a rumor that the School Board had changed its policy allowing teachers to penalize students.
The School Board immediately refuted the rumor, saying there was no change in policy. The policy states that students cannot be penalized for excused absences, whether for athletic events, club trips or sickness.
School Board member Patty Bruchez said the teachers award participation points differently. Some teachers may use the points to comprise 5 percent of a student's final class grade while others may consider them as 20 percent of the grade, she said.
At least one teacher does not use participation points at all, she said.
Some parents also had issues with teachers not giving participation points, saying the points are important for students with borderline grades who attend and are prepared for class every day.
Bruchez told the students in attendance that they need to discuss with their teachers what their individual policies are regarding participation.
Hayden High School Principal Nick Schafer said he would check to ensure the teachers at the high school were following policy.
In other business:
n Colleen Poole, Hayden Middle School principal and district assessment coordinator, reported the progress of the district's newly implemented assessment tests known as a Measure of Academic Progress, or MAP.
Poole said it is a helpful testing program for students, parents and teachers because of the way the tests are scored. MAP tests give a point score that is cumulative for each subject from one grade to the next. It shows students, parents and teachers what areas a student needs to improve, when a student is ready for a particular class, such as algebra, or how many points a student needs to meet the class average or score a certain percentage on other placement tests.
"It's a tangible scoring that students can see so they can see where they need to be," Poole said.
"I truly believe kids want to progress, and if they can see it, that's great for them."
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