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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Now is the Time to Request Credit

If your child took high school level classes in middle school - typically world languages or an accelerated math course - and has just started high school, your child can get high school credit for that course, in accordance with State Law and Board Policy, but only upon request.

If you want your child to get high school credit for that work, NOW is the time to request it.

The District may try to require you to request the credit during the first five weeks of the school year. The procedure for the request is not publicly available, but the procedure for the District can be found in the Counseling Services Manual, section 8.10.

Reasons to request the credit:

1. Your child did the work and should get the credit. Really, no other reason is necessary if you believe that people should get credit for their work.

2. It can allow your child the option to take a lighter load at the end of their high school career when taking challenging classes like AP classes.

3. It provides schedule flexibility. Flexibility is always good.

4. If you request credit for Algebra then your child can complete their math class graduation requirements with Advanced Algebra (as expected for students in Washington State). Otherwise, they could be required to take Pre-Calculus to get their required third math credit. Of course, the student still MAY take Pre-Calculus if they wish.

According to the state law, you have to request the credit from the Board.

32 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

Here what the law says:

(4) If requested by the student and his or her family, a student who has completed high school courses before attending high school shall be given high school credit which shall be applied to fulfilling high school graduation requirements if:

(a) The course was taken with high school students, if the academic level of the course exceeds the requirements for seventh and eighth grade classes, and the student has successfully passed by completing the same course requirements and examinations as the high school students enrolled in the class; or

(b) The academic level of the course exceeds the requirements for seventh and eighth grade classes and the course would qualify for high school credit, because the course is similar or equivalent to a course offered at a high school in the district as determined by the school district board of directors.

(5) Students who have taken and successfully completed high school courses under the circumstances in subsection (4) of this section shall not be required to take an additional competency examination or perform any other additional assignment to receive credit.

ParentofThree said...

So if my child takes Algebra 1, using the Discovery Math book and finishes the book in 8th grade, then highschool credit should be awarded? But I have to ask the board for approval? How exactly do you do that?

Charlie Mas said...

You should write a letter to the Board requesting the credit. Here's a template you can follow:

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Board of Directors
Attn: Michael DeBell, School Board President
2445 Third Avenue South
Mail Stop: 11-010
PO BOX 34165
Seattle, WA 98124-1165

Members of the Board,

I hereby petition the Board, in accordance with RCW 28A.230.090 and Board Policy D15.00, for one year of high school credit for the [name of class] class my [son/daughter/ward], [child's name here], took in middle school.

The class meets the requirements of the law because the academic level of the course exceeds the requirements for seventh and eighth grade classes and the course was similar or equivalent to a course offered at a high school in the district. The classes meet the requirements of the Board Policy because students received over 150 hours of planned instructional activities per credit, and the course was taught by a teacher qualified to teach the course at the high school level. [He/She] did pass the courses.

[Child's name] is now enrolled at [High school name] and is eligible for the credit.

I look forward to your determination and awarding of the credit.

Thank you for your attention,

Charlie Mas said...

Actually, I think I would appreciate it if folks did use that template since it would make for a nice way to count the effect of this blog post.

seattle said...

I'm sending mine in for my sons ALG I class he took in 8th grade! I'll gladly use the template.

Charlie Mas said...

Thanks to the District's claim that they aligned the math curriculum there can be no dispute that the Algebra class taught at middle school is the same as the Algebra class taught in high school.

Maureen said...

What about 8th grade APP science? Is that equivalent to a HS course? Which one?

Patrick said...

Does this policy make sense to anybody? Why do you have to specially request credit for doing work? Why does the Board have to act on these requests?

Charlie Mas said...

The law that allows this awarding of credit says that people have to request it.

The law was on the books for years before the District agreed to follow it. I petitioned them for credit for my older daughter and they refused it, claiming (incorrectly) that their policy didn't allow it. Although their policy was in direct conflict with the law, their practice was not.

The law leaves it to the individual Boards to determine which middle school classes are equivalent to high school classes. In the past, the Board simply didn't identify ANY middle school classes as equivalent. Mind you, they didn't say that the middle school classes WEREN'T equivalent; they just didn't do any work on the subject at all. They escaped compliance with the law through indolence.

LG said...

Charlie,

Very timely - I was just reminded of this last night and here you have a template all ready. Thank you so much.

How will we know if the credits have been granted. Or denied, for that matter?

Maureen, 8th grade APP took Biology. I'm going to request that, plus the math.

SP said...

Patrick- the only reasonable explanation I've heard is that you don't want a low grade/GPA to automatically go onto your kid's permanent HS transcript for college applications. This way, you get to choose after the end of the year whether to get credit or not (a luxury not allowed in HS).

Interesting comparison from a state-wide 2008 study by BERC,
% of middle school kids actually earning HS credits:
26% math
7% world language
33% WA history

So, it looks like Seattle is way behind in this practice, except for WA history (it's a state-wide graduation requirement, but kids can't earn a HS credit for it if its taken in MS for some reason).

The missing link is this: at the board work sessions there were long discussions about the policy D15.00 and why the MS credit could not be put in place for following school year (the policy was finally approved Oct. 09). Their concern was that the policy states that the course must be taught by a teacher with HS certification in that subject, and it would have to be approved by the district on a teacher-by-teacher basis. Catch this... the reasoning was that it wouldn't be "equitable" because entering 6th graders had already chosen their middle schools without knowing in advance which teachers/classes/schools would be able to give HS credit!

Consider this:
1. HS credit is not given to any classes at the 6th grade level, and the 7th/8th grade kids were already inplace. Of course, there never can be a guarantee that the "HS certified" teachers will be there for 3 yrs while a kid is in MS!
2. did the district then follow through for this with the 2010-11 sign up in March with such a list? Does it actually exist? Which middle schools can or can't give HS credit in which subjects this year?
3. not only that, even now the district does not look at the middle school bell schedule to certify that they are giving the required full 150 seat hours. By giving credit, is the School Board in fact also certifying that your kid really did get 150 hours of instruction in that subject?

seattle said...

"Does this policy make sense to anybody? Why do you have to specially request credit for doing work? "

It is in a students best interest to have to request HS credit for MS work. You may or may not want credit depending on your child;s grade. Lets say they get an A or even a B in ALG I in MS. You may very well want the credit. But lets say your child gets a C. They passed the class and are eligible for HS credit but you may not want the C on your students HS transcripts as that would affect his/her overall GPA.

As long as your child passes ALG I in MS, they can go directly into ALG 2 in high school whether or not they get the HS credit for it. It's really a good thing that parents are able to decide and request (or not request) credit.

Dorothy Neville said...

It's credit, not the grade, is it? Typically one can get credit from another institution but rarely if ever would that grade appear on transcript of be calculated in GPA.

So the arguments about the grade are not relevant.

Now if someone got a C in Algebra 1 in 8th grade, feels weak in it and wants to retake it in high school, then they would not want, or be eligible for, credit for that 8th grade class. Heck, there could be students who got As in 8th grade Algebra 1 who feel that way, perhaps they had a lousy teacher who was an easy grader, or teacher got sick and they had a parade of subs, so the grading was easy but the kid feels confused.

Patrick said...

Thanks, I understand the situation better now.

SP said...

Dorothy-
Good question that needs to be confirmed, but my understanding when attending the Board work sessions was that when you receive HS credit for MS classes, your grade from the MS class will then be included in your HS transcript and be included in your GPA.

Otherwise it would be a "eat you cake & have it too" situation, as a kid with a D in MS could earn HS credit but look squeeky clean on his/her HS GPA? (but the same D earned for the same class in 9th grade had to be included in your GPA, like it or not?)

Dorothy Neville said...

Thanks, Seattle Parent. I am just scratching my head over that. From what Charlie quotes of the law and from all my past knowledge of transferring credits to an new school, nowhere should grade apply.

Dorothy Neville said...

Oh, and for Washington state history, if my memory serves, there's a box on the middle school transcript that says it was completed, no specific grade. And then on the high school transcript there's a box that says WA St History requirement completed in middle school. Again, just a check box. No grade.

hschinske said...

So, it looks like Seattle is way behind in this practice, except for WA history (it's a state-wide graduation requirement, but kids can't earn a HS credit for it if its taken in MS for some reason).

But you *can* take WA state history in middle school and get credit for it. People do it all the time. As Dorothy said, it's a yes/no check-off on the transcript and that's it.

The WA state history requirement has historically been squishy, squishy, squishy. I remember the US history teacher at Lakeside saying that they had convinced the powers that be that their US history course (required) included enough about Washington state to qualify. That was of course bogus. The class spent maybe one or two periods talking about anything to do with Washington state (Wobblies or something).

Helen Schinske

SP said...

Dorothy & Helen,
The WA History graduation requirement (as opposed to a required credit) is a wierd exception all of it's own.

See WAC 180-51-066 (below), which says that 1/2 credit is required for graduation in WA state history & government, but also says that the requirement can be fulfilled in 7 or 8th grade, but can only count as HS credit IF the academic level of the course is at a HS level. Anotherwords, kids in Seattle have been fulfilling the graduation requirement, but do not receive the HS credit (and thus no grade is transfered either). That's what the "check the box" is all about, a requirement issue & not actually a HS credit.
I think in Seattle, the actual 1/2 credit history credit is just lumped into the rest of the history credit requirements.

Here's the wording:

(ii) Under the provisions of RCW 28A.230.170 and 28A.230.090, one-half credit shall be required in Washington state history and government which shall include study of the Constitution of the state of Washington and is encouraged to include information on the culture, history, and government of the American Indian people who were the first inhabitants of the state.

(A) For purposes of the Washington state history and government requirement only, the term "secondary student" shall mean a student who is in one of the grades seven through twelve. If a district offers this course in the seventh or eighth grade, it can still count towards the state history and government graduation requirement. However, the course should only count as a high school credit if the academic level of the course exceeds the requirements for seventh and eighth grade classes and the course would qualify for high school credit, because the course is similar or equivalent to a course offered at a high school in the district as determined by the school district board of directors (RCW 28A.230.090(4)).

SP said...
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hschinske said...

Typically one can get credit from another institution but rarely if ever would that grade appear on transcript of be calculated in GPA.

I don't know how unusual it is, but it happens. When I got a copy of my college transcript, I discovered that it included a record of the grades from the semester-abroad program I'd done in Oxford. The college didn't figure them into overall GPA at that time, but I heard later that they'd started accepting that program's classes for graded credit. I've always been a little annoyed at that decision, because I'd gotten straight A's in the Oxford program and including them would have done nice things for my GPA.

Helen Schinske

SP said...

Charlie, BTW- The K-12 Counseling Services Manual (thanks for the handy link, they really hide it on the SPS website, and it's not even linked from the School Board Policy section!) says that HS credit for MS classes will not be available until 2010-2011.

I remember that discussion now, that the E-Sis had to be reprogrammed somehow before they would accept any requests, and thinking how ridiculous kids would have to wait for that to happen! What about the 2 year world language classes? Would only this year's 7th graders be able to start earning HS credit then? (thus current 8th & 9th graders having already taken those classes are out of luck?).

I guess it's all a moot point if not availble yet. Also interesting to note that there doesn't seem to be in either the Policy or the Procedure (K-12 Maunual) any mention of whether MS grades count for HS credit (and are included in the GPA) or not!

From the K-12 Manual:

High School Credit to Middle School Students
o Middle School Students Enrolled in High School Level Courses
• The School Board has the authority under state law to issue high school credit for middle
school courses if the Board determines the middle school course to be equivalent to a
course offered at a high school. Currently, no middle school courses have been determined
to be equivalent to high school courses. This is anticipated to change for the 2010-2011
school year.
• The courses should be noted as middle school courses, with middle school characteristics
in e-SIS’ Credit Details for the purpose of middle school GPA and academic history but the
courses will contain high school level content. This is to insure the consistent delivery of
course content and rigor for high school level courses.

SP said...

re: transfer of credit & grades
A caution to kids taking running start S.A.T prep courses at community colleges (free through running start, by the way)-

Be aware in Seattle that your running start grade for the SAT prep course IS automatically transfered to your HS and IS included in your GPA , unless you arrange for a Pass/fail grade in advance.
A friend of ours took the course & got a B (missed one class) and was not made aware that this then ruined their 4.0 GPA! The SPS was adament that the grade had to be included in the kid's HS GPA.

I don't know if the same holds true for all the other running start classes or not.

seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle said...

but my understanding when attending the Board work sessions was that when you receive HS credit for MS classes, your grade from the MS class will then be included in your HS transcript and be included in your GPA.

You are absolutely right Seattle Parent. The actual grade (not just pass/fail or credit) goes onto the HS transcript.

seattle said...

"Oh, and for Washington state history, if my memory serves, there's a box on the middle school transcript that says it was completed, no specific grade."

Wa State History is handled differently. That is a pass/fail, credit or no credit, class. A grade is not reflected on the HS transcript. It is also a class that is not (that I'm aware of) offered in HS. It is only taken in MS in Wa State, though the student needs the class to meet HS graduation requirements .

It is a bit confusing

Maureen said...

LG, did they take Physical Science in 7th grade? (Roosevelt requires all Freshmen to take "9th Grade Science," but the course description looks like it would be "Physical Science.") Maybe your kid could get credit for that as well.

seattle citizen said...

hschinske, I'm glad the students at Lakeside were talking about Wobblies. Forewarned is forearmed!

LG said...

Maureen, they had some science for 1 semester in 7th grade; the other semester was health. I'm not going to try for that semester. Also I guess Integrated 1 was sort of Algebra I but I'm not going there either.

hschinske said...

My 7th-grader at Washington is taking Physical Science, and the syllabus specifically says that the course is designed to give students the option to petition for high school credit in the future.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

My 7th-grader at Washington is taking Physical Science...

Sorry, for Washington read Hamilton. Slip of the fingers. It may be the same at Washington, don't know.

Helen Schinske

LG said...

This thread is now so far down I don't know if this post will get any attention, but according to Jon Halfaker (WMS principal) last year's 8th graders do NOT get credit, per "Board policy". Credit starts with this year's 8th graders.

That seems unfair. I'm going to apply anyway.