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Harwood Union School Board approves grading changes

As the academic year came to a close at Harwood Union High School, students, teachers and administrators were already thinking about next year.

In an email that went out in the school's weekly newsletter earlier this month, Harwood Union included the draft of a revised transcript and grading policy, and at the Harwood Union School Board meeting that took place on Wednesday, June 18, board members voted to approve the draft.

Currently, Harwood Union has a weighted grading system, meaning that a grade in an honors course is worth more than the same grade in a non-honors course when calculating a student's grade point average (GPA), which ultimately determines his or her class rank.

In the spring of 2013, students initiated a proposal to do away with Harwood Union's weighted grading system. Students also proposed switching to the Latin system of using "summa cum laude," "magna cum laude," and "cum laude," to recognize high academic achievement instead tracking class rank.

Without a weighted grading system, students with a GPA of 3.90 or higher would earn the distinction "summa cum laude," students with a GPA of 3.78 to 3.89 would earn the distinction "magna cum laude" and students with a GPA of 3.67 to 3.77 would earn the distinction "cum laude."

After conducting research this past winter, a committee within the Harwood Union School Board found that Harwood Union is the only school in the region that currently has a weighted grading system and tracks class rank. The school board voted to move forward and draft a revised policy on transcripts and grading, which was read aloud at the school board meeting in May, followed by a discussion among student representatives and the community.

Currently, a draft of the revised policy is available on the school's website for those were not able to attend the meeting. The draft clarifies that "class rank will not be calculated or reported except when required for a student's application," and proposes that the changes go into effect for Harwood Union's graduating class of 2015.

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