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School Board to Review Grades Policy

Moorpark school board members are gearing up to review a high school policy that ties grades to students’ attendance.

Since 1994, if a Moorpark High School student misses too many classes, his or her grade goes down.

“We have an attendance policy that equates their grade to their attendance. As an educator, I’m philosophically opposed to that,” said school board member Greg Barker, a teacher in Thousand Oaks. “One thing is behavioral and the other is academic, and I want to separate the two.”

Board member Tom Baldwin said students’ grades should reflect their performance in classes, not their attendance.

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“A child that learns 95% of what the teacher would like them to learn should earn a better grade than the child that learned 70%, regardless of whether the child that learned 70% was there more,” he said.

Board President David Pollock says some district staff members are “not excited about the idea of changing this policy.”

Nonetheless, Pollock said the board will consider the issue in late January.

“There is some contention and I think that the high school staff feels strongly that the policy should remain the same,” Pollock said. “The board feels otherwise. Either there’s something that we’re not understanding about the policy or it’s just an honest difference of opinion.”

Moorpark High School staff members were still on break Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

While all members of the board have agreed to revisit the policy, there isn’t a consensus on what should be done, Pollock said.

Options could include disciplinary measures like Saturday school for students who miss classes. Another might include reducing the number of credits--not the grade--a student earns if he or she misses a given class too many times.

But Pollock said there is no indication that any of those solutions will succeed. .

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