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Board approves more classes for weighted grading
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MONROE - Freshman students at Monroe High School will have more college prep courses they can take for weighted grading down the road.

The Student Recognition Committee for the Monroe School District approved eight courses for weighted grading this year.

Earlier this year, the district approved switching from a 4.0 grading scale to a weighted grading scale with 0.5 and 1.0-point add-ons for more difficult courses starting with the Class of 2016. Under the weighted grading system, a student who receives an A would get 5.0 points toward their grade-point average, while a student who receives a B would get 4.0 points.

Dan Keyser, the district's director of curriculum and instruction, udated the Monroe school board Monday on the courses approved for weighted grading. The courses approved for 1.0-point add-ons include Advance Placement courses and dual credit courses, such as Introduction to Engineering, a Project Lead the Way class that is open to freshmen. Keyser said the courses approved for 0.5-point add-ons include Spanish 5, German 5, and select capstone courses and select articulate courses students take through Blackhawk Technical College.

"The weighted grading makes it easier for students to take a more rigorous course without the penalty of not getting an A," Keyser said.

The district is focused on having high school studs take more rigorous courses in fields they may enter in college. Monroe School Board President Bob Erb said the focus of many students for years was to protect their grade-point averages and class rank by not taking as many challenging courses. However, Erb said, in a recent study of college admissions staff members, class rank was eighth on the list of items admissions staff review.

The committee, comprised of administration, parents and staff, will review weighted grading applications from high school departments each year. No honors courses at the high school were submitted for weighted grading, and Keyser said the committee still hasn't determined if the honors courses would be approved for the distinction. Keyser said students are placed into honors courses and can't just choose to take a course.

With the shift to weighted grading, the student recognition system at the high school also changed. The new recognition system includes a 4.0 GPA or higher for distinguished honors, a 3.75-3.99 GPA for high honors and a 3.50-3.74 GPA for honors.