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Forsan ISD trustees to consider grading rule suspension

January 12, 2013

FORSAN —School trustees here are expected to join the majority of Texas school districts in suspending a controversial grading rule when they hold their monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in the administration wing board room.

The board will consider a resolution suspending the “15 percent rule.” Under the rule, a student's score on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end of course exams would account for 15 percent of the student's final grade in each tested subject area.

State education officials have twice delayed implementation of the rule and Forsan ISD Superintendent Randy Johnson is on the record with his hopes that the rule will be permanently dropped.

“I think the 15 percent rule sounded really good on the surface,” Johnson said in December. “It was designed to give students motivation to perform better in the classroom, but as with everything else, the devil is in the details and things descended into chaos.”

One of the biggest objections educators had to the rule is that state test results would not be known until months after exams were taken. Under that scenario, students could end the school year believing they had passed a course, only to learn during the summer they had failed the test, thus lowering their overall class grade.

Johnson said the rule will not be missed if it is eliminated.

“The general idea behind the rule was a good one. It just didn't work out,” he said. “We continue to appreciate the Legislature's efforts to motivate students, but we're relieved this plan has been postponed and hope it will be put away permanently.”

Also Monday, trustees will continue a series of meetings with architects as FISD continues laying the groundwork for a bond election sometime this year. School officials want district voters to approve construction of a new campus to replace Elbow Elementary, which first opened in 1930 and is the oldest public school building still in active use in Howard County.

Other items on Monday's agenda include:

• Superintendent's evaluation and possible contract extension.
• School safety discussions.
• Auditors for 2012-2013.
• Reports on revenue, expenditures and investments.

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