Beaufort County school board postpones decision on grade floors

tbarton@islandpacket.comMay 21, 2013 

  • In other action

    The Beaufort County Board of Education Tuesday approved:

  • The use $417,000 originally budgeted to repair or replace damaged iPads to instead purchase 830 additional units for H.E. McCracken and Hilton Head Island middle schools. The two schools would join the rest of the district's middle schoolers in having an iPad assigned to them for the entire school day. Twenty of the district's 7,600 iPads were damaged this school year at a cost of $1,768. About $456,000 had been budgeted for repairs. Nineteen iPads were lost or stolen during the year and were replaced using spare units.

  • A $5,000 donation from BB&T to St. Helena Elementary to build a "Knowledge Garden" in the school library.

  • A $6,000 donation from Hilton Head Island High School's booster club for a new scoreboard

The Beaufort County school board voted Tuesday to postpone a decision on the use of grade floors until July.

An ad hoc committee of the school board has been reviewing grade floor policies and gathering feedback from parents, residents, teachers and principals.

The committee will continue to gather information on the practice and review the subject with newly appointed superintendent Jeffrey Moss before making a decision for next school year.

Moss, in an email to a board member, said there could be a place for grade floors for struggling students, but did not seem to favor their use. He said there must be consistent application of such a policy across the district.

The practice is used in some or all courses at about a dozen schools in the district.

"I think we should engage students and keep them actively involved during class and there would not be a need for grade floors," Moss wrote.

The grading practice, which some say gives struggling students a chance to recover, essentially gives them a higher "F" on a report card. If, for example, a student earns a 45 percent during a quarter, it would show up as a 60 percent. The higher grade prevents the student from falling too far behind and allows another chance to pass before semester grades are issued, principals have said.

Others call it grade inflation and social promotion.

The practice came under scrutiny after the February 2012 resignation of Beaufort High School principal Dan Durbin, who changed grades for 33 students without following district protocol.

District officials, though, have said the grade floors are different from Durbin's "unilateral" actions.

Related content

  1. Northern Beaufort County school board hears from residents on grade floors, school choice: May 14, 2013
  2. Hilton Head school board reps hear from parents on grade floors, communication: April 25, 2013
  3. Beaufort County educators see need to reform grading system: April 8, 2013

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