WHEELING — A recent change in graduation requirements for West Virginia’s high school seniors should give students the opportunity to take more technical education electives, according to local school officials.
The West Virginia Board of Education this month approved a policy to drop the number of required credits for graduation from the current 24 to 22, while encouraging county districts to mandate more credits if deemed necessary.
“The only required credits being removed from the current policy are two additional elective credits,” said Jessica Hall, spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Education. “Counties have the ability to increase credits beyond the minimum set forth. … This change will allow counties the flexibility for scheduling, increasing required courses and/or increasing graduation credit requirements as needed.”
The state board had considered lowering the number of social studies credits required for graduation from four to two, but requirement will remain at four “to ensure students are prepared to participate in a global society,” Hall said.
Marshall County Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Crook said the changes will benefit students seeking a career and technical education path.
“The way we look at it … the whole intent for changing the requirements is to open more opportunities for students who want to take advantage of (career and technical education) offerings,” he said. “I wholeheartedly think this is a great idea. Not every student is college bound, and they can have lucrative careers with this education.”
Crook said he would need to meet with Marshall County Board of Education members and the school district’s leadership team to further determine what the changes “mean for us as a county.”
In Ohio County Schools, Assessment and Federal Programs Director Walt Saunders said the requirement changes will give students “more flexibility for exploration” as they seek a future career path.
“The goal is to open up for students more CTE classes, and more flexibility in taking those classes,” he said. “It will be more like college, where you get to pick a few electives.”
The state board this month also adopted changes to the grading scale for all students, starting July 1.
Starting then, students achieving a 90 percent average or above in a class will receive an A, while presently they must reach 93 percent for that grade.
At the bottom end, scores 64 percent or lower are an F under the present grading system. After July 1, an “F” will be awarded for averages at 59 percent or lower.
A grade of B would be awarded for an average between 80 and 89 percent; C, 70 to 79 percent; and D, 60 to 69 percent.