Curriculum Committee looks at approval process for grade-weighted courses

By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 14, 2019 7:50 am

QUINCY -- A new approval process could be in place for grade-weighted courses at Quincy High School for the 2020-21 school year.

"Since we're providing a lot more flexibility for kids with courses online and CBE (competency-based education) opportunities, we knew grade weighting would be an issue, but the most important realization coming out the committee was we didn't really have a process, a criteria on what grade-weighted courses should be," QHS Principal Jody Steinke said.

So the Grade-Weight Committee created an approval form to provide a process and criteria for the classes to provide accountability and fairness.

A proposal presented Monday to the Curriculum Committee calls for all grade-weighted courses to submit an approval form no later than Nov. 15 for review for the 2020-21 year. The committee will look at rigor and content in determining whether the class should be grade-weighted or needs revision.

After initial approval, all grade-weighted courses will submit the approval form no later than June 1 every third year for review or when a teacher change occurs.

Steinke said the requirements will not apply to Advanced Placement, or AP, courses or Project Lead the Way courses which already have a rigorous third-party monitoring process in place.

The new requirements will spur some department and interdepartment conversations about honors classes, Steinke said, and whether classes meet or don't meet the criteria.

Director of Student Services Carol Frericks suggested adding information in the course catalog about the grade-weighted classes. "So (students) will know when they look at courses what the process is and that there is a process," Frericks said.

The Curriculum Committee, which did not have a quorum, could not make a formal recommendation to the School Board about the proposal but raised no concerns.

Also Monday, the Curriculum Committee:

Heard an update on Quincy Junior High School curriculum and plans to add an honors pathway for communication arts in grades 6, 7 and 8 and to add a third pathway in math.

Junior high students will take either Math 6, Math 7 and Math 8 or Math 7, Math 8 and Algebra I for students one year above grade level or Math 8, Algebra I and Geometry for students testing two year above grade level.

Agreed to make the Campbell Biology in Focus textbook for AP Biology at QHS available for public review for a month. Plans call for finalizing purchase of the 2020 edition of the textbook, which comes with a six-year online component, in June for the 2019-20 school year.

Heard a reminder that the Curriculum and Discipline Committees will merge and meet quarterly beginning in June. The first joint meeting will be at 3 p.m. June 20 to review district improvement plans.

"We have the option to meet more than quarterly," Committee Co-Chair and School Board member Sheldon Bailey said. "We can do that."