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‘Grade replacement’ still possible for Mercer Island High Schoolers learning off-campus, but it won’t change GPA

Through the years, there has been a lot of controversy regarding the policy about how grades earned at classes taken outside of Mercer Island High School are dealt with on MIHS student transcripts.

The district updated its policy two years ago concerning off-campus courses that students take, as many felt the inclusion of grades from other schools on official MIHS transcripts was unfair. The update allows students to continue taking off-campus courses, but students’ transcripts will include only the fact that they took classes for which they earned credit, without listing the grade or including it in their GPA.

Despite the high school’s policy change, there is still a way for students to showcase grades earned at other institutions.

Carol Meyer, the director of the Privett Academy on Mercer Island, said her school offers summer school classes, which can effectively count as grade replacement.

For example, if a student gets a failing or poor grade in a class at MIHS, that student can retake the class at a private school or other approved program in the summer. While MIHS won’t include the student’s grade in his or her GPA, it will show that the student retook the class. When that student applies for college, as required, the private school will send a copy of the student’s transcript to the college or university, showing the grade the student earned, which in effect is a replacement of the previous grade.

“That’s the missing link,” said Meyer. “GPA is factored in by colleges. They are ultimately the decision makers.” She added that most private schools allow this practice.

ETC Preparatory Academy, located on Mercer Island, offers the same option for students, according to Susan Small, the director of student services. She said students have been able to retake courses at ETC since 1992, and that ETC gets a wide variety of students in the summer from across the region.

“For us, it’s not just students from Mercer Island,” said Small. “We get students from a broad range of school districts, like Lake Washington, Kent, Renton. It’s all a matter of transportation.”

While Meyer said there is a difference in what she and MIHS call it, it is something which will always be available for students.

“I feel like at the end of the year, if a student fails, parents don’t know what to do,” said Meyer.

In order to be approved for an off-campus credit, students must attend an accredited public or private high school or college and the course must meet the same academic standards as at MIHS. Students also need to earn pre-approval for the course from the high school and to include a syllabus if the class is not one offered at the high school.

The new grade policy is No. 2414, approved by the school board last fall and updated in June 2010.

Options:

To view MISD school transcript policies, visit www.misd.k12.wa.us.

For more information on Privett Academy, visit www.privettacademy.org or call 232-0059.

For more information on ETC, visit www.etcinc.org or call 236-1095.

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