Howland BOE to discuss grading standards

HOWLAND — The board of education has settled on questions that will be asked in a survey to determine if residents want school construction.

Meeting in special session today, the board agreed on the questions that will be asked by Cleveland-based Business Research Services Inc.

The board contracted with the company in December to do the survey for $8,700.

The questions range from items such as: how area residents perceive the current buildings and their management, attitudes toward a bond issue, and   demographics of the school district.

The telephone survey will ask 450 residents questions to determine if the community wants to build a new high school and add onto   H.C. Mines and North Road intermediate schools, which now use trailers to hold some classes.

If the survey finds that residents don’t favor new construction, the board has said it won’t be pursued.

Board member Scott Lehman said if the public believes the current buildings are adequate, then the board hasn’t done a good job in making them aware of their shortcomings.

In other business, the board decided to have a special meeting at noon Feb. 2 to discuss grading with school counselors.

Board member Lori Kuszmaul said she has heard from parents who are complaining because of the lack of a standardized grading system among school districts.

Schools Superintendent John Rubesich pointed out that districts have different scales in determining what constitutes an A.

For example, Howland students must receive a 94 percent to receive an A, however it’s 90 percent in Austintown and 97 percent in Liberty.

Kuszmaul said she wants to know how colleges and universities look at how grades are perceived.

Rubesich said that college and university representatives that he has talked with have told him the actual grade is low on their criteria for entrance.

He said they first look at the difficulty of the classes taken and then SAT, ACT and college entrance exam scores. The actual grade is third, he added.

Kuszmaul also expressed concern about SAT and ACT tests scores because parents are paying for their children to attend programs on how to take the college entrance exams.

Being taught how to take the test, she noted, inflates the scores and isn’t a reflection of what the students have learned.

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