NC to let gifted students get credit without taking classes

Dec 21, 2013 by

Gifted students will be able to get high school credit in the near future without having to enroll in some classes, changing a long-standing requirement in North Carolina’s public schools.

No later than spring 2015 – and possibly this spring in some school districts – students will be able to take exams in some courses they haven’t enrolled in to show that they know the material well enough to get credit.

But some school leaders are worried that the new program could let students “game the system” to raise their grade-point average and could devalue the role of teachers in the learning process.

“We need to be forceful about this being a good thing for a very small universe of students, and it’s not there to game the system,” Wake County school board Vice Chairman Tom Benton said at this week’s board meeting.

Supporters of the new Credit By Demonstrated Mastery program say it helps students by not requiring them to sit through a course where they’ve already mastered the material.

“The goal is to ensure that students are in the right and appropriate learning environment for their growth,” said Sneha Shah-Coltrane, director of Gifted Education and Advanced Programs for the state Department of Public Instruction.

Shah-Coltrane said the program was developed because school districts wanted guidance in how to place gifted students. As an example, she cited how one school district was grappling with where to place an eighth-grade student in English who had a perfect score on the ACT college admission exam.

About 20 states already allow gifted students to get credit without having to take courses, Shah-Coltrane added.

Under the rules adopted by the State Board of Education, students in grades six through 12 can seek credit in 159 standard-level high school courses covering a wide range of subjects. Healthful living, Advanced Placement, honors, International Baccalaureate and some career and technical education courses are not eligible.

Shah-Coltrane said that although not many students are expected to take advantage of the program, there are enough who would benefit.

“If there is a child that believes there’s a course they’ve already mastered and can demonstrate it, why should they take it?” she said. “They should be in a course that is more rigorous.”

via NC to let gifted students get credit without taking classes | Education | NewsObserver.com.

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