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Grading scale survey raises many more questions

District 111 officials to look into impact of various options

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 2:45 p.m. CDT

MINOOKA — Surveys taken by Minooka Community High School stakeholders regarding a change in the district’s grading scale is raising more questions.

In response to requests by some District 111 parents to change the grading scale, a survey was made available to all district students, parents, MCHS staff, feeder district staff and community members.

Almost 1,400 people responded, 1,000 more responses than the last survey sent out by the district, said Dave DiLorenzo, MCHS director of community relations.

“The fact that we had over 1,000 responses from community members really speaks volumes about how important this is to students and parents,” DiLorenzo said.

The survey was kept simple, DiLorenzo said, with a goal of finding out if the community understands the grading scale, if it should be changed and why.

Minooka’s seven-point grading scale has been in place for at least 25 years. Out of 31 high schools in a 30-mile radius, 90 percent of those high schools use a 10-point scale.

Survey results found that 75 percent of community members, 42 percent of MCHS staff and 45 percent of sender district staff preferred the 10-point scale.

Students, who were part of the community total, overwhelmingly preferred the 10-point scale over current seven-point scale.

While the responses are clear, more questions have come up from comments responders made on the survey, asking the reasons for preferring a specific scale.

The reason cited most often for making the change was that the current scale has a negative impact on college applications, scholarships and financial aid.

Committee members questioned whether the negative impact is real or if it’s a community-wide perception.

“There’s a wide variety of perceptions of the role the grading scale and grade points play when it comes to students’ post-high school options and opportunities,” DiLorenzo said following the board meeting.

The comment made the most often by responders was that MCHS should keep its high standards But the committee wasn’t sure if that referred to the grading scale itself or high standards in general. Before making any kind of decision, the committee needs to contact colleges and universities to find out what their practices are, DiLorenzo said.

The District 111 board, which heard survey results Thursday, March 7, will need to take some time to absorb the information, Superintendent Jim Colyott said.

“There’s a lot of questions of what exactly they (responders) mean,” Colyott said.

JJC to offer COMPASS

Students who have registered for a Joliet Junior College dual credit course at Minooka High for the 2013-14 school year will have the opportunity to take the required COMPASS test right at MCHS, Principal Darcie Kubinski said.

JJC has agreed to come to the high school on March 18 and 19 to offer the test. Historically, students had to make an appointment and go to the college to take it.

“Over 200 students are taking advantage of the opportunity,” Kubinski said.

The results will be available the same day. Students who need to retake any part of the test will go to JJC to do so.

Most school fees to remain the same

The District 111 board approved the school fee structure Thursday, March 7, for the 2013-14 school year. The only fee that will increase is driver’s education, which will go up from $100 to $125.

There will be a $30 fee for bowling, as part of the life skills physical education curriculum to offset the cost, but it is an option that was previously reduced as part of the budget reduction.

“Except for driver’s education, we are keeping the fees the same,” Business Manager Todd Drafall said.

After discussions between the finance and co-curricular committees, it was decided that no separate fees will be instituted for athletics, music or activities.

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