Graduation Guidelines and Requirements
School Board Policy 205.01 Graduation Guidelines and Requirements
FAQs About the Revised Graduation Requirements Policy
Q. What are the significant changes in the graduation policy?
A. Quaker Valley School District Policy 205.01 Graduation Guidelines and Requirements was approved on January 27,2004, by the school board. It is a revision of a policy last modified four years ago and establishes the requirements students must fulfill in order to receive a diploma from Quaker Valley High School.
There are two critical changes from the previous version. First, a written composition course has been added to the curriculum. Second, the district is eliminating the practice of ranking seniors by grade point average and, after 2005, will no longer recognize a valedictorian or salutatorian.
Instead of being ranked according to grade point average (GPA), each graduating senior who has earned a cumulative GPA of 4.0 or better in their last two years of high school will be acknowledged as a "Distinguished Graduate" of Quaker Valley High School.
Q. Why are you doing away with the class ranking system? Isn't it an important factor in college acceptances?
A. Actually, the use of class ranking as a consideration for college acceptance has been declining since 1990. Currently, only 45 percent of the nation?s secondary schools rank their students according to grade point average. Research also shows that most private schools and small high schools do not rank their students, nor do schools with a high percentage of college enrollments like Quaker Valley. Most colleges now consider grades in college preparation classes, admissions tests and overall grade point average to be more important than class rank.
Q. But the fact that others are eliminating the class rank system shouldn't be a reason to scrap the valedictorian/salutatorian identification at Quaker Valley.
A. It isn't. There are other reasons. For example, ranking our students who have a highly individualized collection of classes and experiences defeats our goal to be fair and accurate when rewarding outstanding achievement. In fact, having a ranking system can foster unhealthy competition between students who are obsessed with attaining the highest possible ranking and who choose or drop classes based on grade point value alone. At Quaker Valley, we believe that a student's educational program should be based on individual needs, interests and career goals. Students should be encouraged to make choices that offer the best personal growth and not because they can get a higher class rank.
Q. So how are the top students going to be acknowledged if there is no class rank?
A. Each student who earns a cumulative average of 4.0 or better shall be recognized as a "Distinguished Graduate of Quaker Valley High School." Each shall be identified by a distinctive honor cord, and named in the graduation program. A "Distinguished Graduate" designation will appear on the diploma of qualified students.
All graduation speakers shall be chosen through a process designed by the high school faculty and principal. Valedictory speakers shall be chosen from among the distinguished graduate group of students.
Q. Why is the required written composition course being added to the curriculum?
A. The composition course has been added to the curriculum in order to establish a standard for written composition throughout all high school subjects and to prepare students for the new writing section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The writing section of the 2400-point SAT will make up one third of the test. For details on the SAT, go to: www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/newsat/about.html.