School districts get some flexibility in graduation credit rules

School districts should get more flexibility in setting requirements each high school grade, the state Board of Education voted Friday.

The rules they approved earlier this year set out not only how many credits a student must have to be a sophomore, junior and senior but how many math and English credits were needed for each grade as well.

Elko County School District Superintendent Marcia Bandera led the push to remove the specific math and English credits.

She said she wasn't trying to reduce the number of credits in those classes required to get a diploma, only to provide more flexibility for school districts and for students who sometimes have scheduling problems.

The board agreed unanimously.

"This is the way the rule was originally written," said member Bill Hanlon, who added that the specific requirements were added at the August meeting.

As amended, Nevada students must still have at least 22 1/2 credits to graduate including four in English, three in math and three in science, plus one each in government, American history and arts-humanities. The remaining requirements are in physical education and computers.

They also still need five credits to move from freshman to sophomore, 11 to become a junior and 17 to be a senior. But there are no longer specific requirements beyond that for each grade promotion.

The board voted to give school officials more flexibility in handling graduation needs of students who transfer into the district in their senior year and to allow districts to charge for some remedial classes.

District officials argued that some students who transfer into Nevada in their senior year don't have time to meet all of Nevada's specific requirements and get a diploma. The state board agreed to change the rules so district officials can waive and modify requirements for those students.

In addition, they voted unanimously for an exception to the rule requiring that districts pay for remedial classes needed to pass state proficiency exams. The exception is in cases where the student lost credit by missing classes without a legitimate reason such as medical problems.

But the board rejected a rule change to allow high school credit for selected middle school classes. Several districts including Washoe and Clark already allow those credits for eighth graders who take advanced classes like algebra or a foreign language but require a proficiency test when the student enters high school.

The board voted not to remove the proficiency test.


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