Local news

Idaho requires credits to enter high school

BOISE – The state will start keeping score in middle school, requiring students in seventh and eighth grades to complete at least 80 percent of their class credits before they advance to the next grade.

Until now, students did not have to pass those grades to continue on to high school.

“Students understand that middle level doesn’t count,” said Rob Sauer, the state Department of Education’s deputy superintendent for innovation and choice. “Now they can say, ‘I have some responsibility in this.’ ”

Under the new system, which will go into effect this fall, students will not advance to the next grade if they fail a full year in one subject, such as math. Schools will provide students who fail to meet the new requirements, or kids in danger of failing, opportunities to recover their class credits and become eligible to go to the next grade.

The Middle Level Credit System was among recommendations of a state task force that was created in 2007 to develop best practices for Idaho middle schools, with the goal of making sure every student is prepared to succeed in high school.

The new policy, which goes into effect this fall, will allow Idaho teachers to hold middle school students more accountable, said state Department of Education spokeswoman Melissa McGrath.

“It’s an issue because you hear from these students who are very capable, but they don’t think school counts until ninth or 10th grade,” McGrath said.

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