County Schools adopt new diploma endorsement

Published 2:43 pm Monday, July 22, 2013

Graduating with an advanced diploma from a Crenshaw County Schools will have more prestige, thanks to new guidelines passed by the Crenshaw County Board of Education recently.

The state has moved to one diploma, which eliminated the six diplomas students were allowed to work toward, but this year’s freshmen will all work toward the same one.

Still, local school systems have the option of allowing endorsements, which is exactly what Crenshaw County has passed.

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The standard Alabama High School Diploma requires four credits of English-language arts; four credits of mathematics – algebra I, geometry, algebraic connections and algebra II; four credits of science – biology, physical science, anatomy/physiology and environmental science; four credits of social studies – world history, two courses of United States history and government and economics; one credit of physical education – personal fitness or two years of marching band; a half-credit of health education; one credit of career preparedness; three credits of career-technical education, foreign language and arts education classes and 2.5 credits of electives, for a total of 24 credits.

For college-bound students or students wishing to challenge themselves on a higher level, the board will institute what is called a Crenshaw County High School Diploma with an Advanced Academic Endorsement.

Students who choose this option will take honors courses including four credits of honors English-language arts; four credits of honors mathematics, including honors algebra I, honors geometry, honors algebra II with trig, and honors pre-calculus.

Students will also take four credits of honors science – honors biology, honors chemistry, honors anatomy/ physiology and honors physics; four credits of honors history – honors world history, two honors U.S. history courses and honors government/economics; one credit of physical education – personal fitness of two years of marching band; one half credit of health education; one credit of career preparedness; three credits of career technical and arts education; two credits of foreign language and 2.5 in electives for a total of 26 credits.

Students who take honors courses will receive a 1.0 weighting in the calculation of a grade point average.

In order to receive an the advanced academic endorsement, students must meet the following criteria in addition to completion of coursework:

• Earn a 4.5626 GPA with a minimum ACT composite of 20;

• Earn a 4.28125 GPA with a minimum ACT composite of 21;

• Earn a 4.0 GPA with a minimum ACT composite of 22;

• Earn a 3.71875 GPA with a minimum ACT composite of 23;

• Earn a 3.4375 GPA with a minimum ACT composite of 24.

• Earn a 3.15625 GPA with a minimum ACT composite of 25 or

• Earn a 2.75 GPA with a minimum ACT composite of 26-plus.

Superintendent Randy Wilkes told the board the system has done a great job getting graduation rates in order and making AYP, but he wanted to “cleanup” the number of students taking remedial courses when they get to college.

That means there are a good number of students who graduate from Crenshaw County Schools who test into English 090/098 and Math 090/098.

“We have done a good job in K-8,” he said. “But now we have to focus on 9-12. We want our standards to be rigorous.

Wilkes proposed the question, “In regards to the student who has highest possible GPA but scores 20 or less on the ACT, what might one surmise of the rigor of our course offerings?”

Board president Dr. Charles Tompkins agreed.

“We are doing our kids a disservice if we don’t challenge them to be the best they can be,” he said. “When they learn they can compete with anyone, they will.”

Board member Steve Sanders agreed.

“We do this in athletics, and we succeed in everything we put on the field,” he said.

Wilkes shared a breakdown of ACT scores of students enrolled in Alabama’s colleges.

The average scores of the 75th percentile on the ACT in Alabama’s college freshmen was 23.95. Students from Auburn scored between a 24 and a 30 in its 25th and 75th percentile, respectively. The University of Alabama’s scores were 22 and 30, Samford University’s were 23 and 29, respectively. Troy University’s was 18 and 24, while Alabama State University’s was 15 and 19, respectively.