Starting with this school year, all 7th and 8th grade students will have to pass at least 80 percent of their courses before advancing to the next grade level.
Why? Currently, too many students are moving on to high school without the necessary skills they need to be successful in the higher grades. It’s not because they aren’t capable of passing. Oftentimes, it’s because the student has figured out that without credit requirements in place at the middle level, grades don’t really “count” until graduation requirements begin in the 9th grade.
Several school districts across the state have already done something to address the issue by implementing their own credit system – Wendell, St. Maries and Jefferson County, to name a few.
When Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna took office in 2007, he worked with the State Board of Education to create the Idaho Middle Level Task Force to find ways to increase student achievement in the middle grades. One of the group’s key recommendations was to implement a credit system in the middle grades, increase accountability and ensure students are prepared to go on and succeed in high school.
Through the middle level credit system, teachers and administrators across Idaho will now have the tools they need to hold students accountable in the middle grades.
The State Board and Idaho Legislature have approved this new credit system, which will be implemented statewide in the 2010-2011 school year.
Under the credit system, the state has set minimum requirements and then given each local school district and public charter school the flexibility to implement a system that meets the needs of its local community within those requirements.
The following are the state requirements:
- A school district shall require a student to attain a minimum of 80 percent of his/her credits in order to be promoted to the next grade level.
- Students will not be allowed to lose a full year of credit in one academic area (i.e. a student would not be able to fail a full year of math).
- Students not meeting credit requirements will be given an opportunity to recover credits or complete an alternate mechanism in order to be eligible for promotion to the next grade level.
- Attendance is a factor either in the credit system or the alternate mechanism or both.
Check out a great editorial in the Twin Falls Times-News about Idaho’s new Middle Level Credit System and why it’s necessary.
~ Melissa M.