Wake County's new middle school math placement policy is getting some major revisions before it's voted on today by the school board.
The revised policy says that "placement criteria must be used when establishing course options for all students." But at the same time, it also removes language from the prior version that had prevented teachers from using professional judgment to place students in lower-level math courses than indicated by EVAAS.
Whether the placement criteria will trump teacher judgment or vice versa remains to be seen. I haven't gotten back a response to the question I posed to the school system on Monday.
Let's back track to November, when the members of the then-Democratic minority balked at using a 70 percent EVAAS probability of success as the floor for placement.
The Democratic members also objected to wording in that policy saying that "teacher professional judgment should only be used to determine if a student should be placed in a higher lass than suggested by available data." They argued it tied the hands of teachers who felt students weren't ready for harder courses.
When Republican board member Deborah Prickett raised her own concerns, it was enough to get the policy tabled.
Since the vote that was tabled in November was a second reading, today's vote is also a second reading meaning it would be adopted today if approved.
Let's jump to today with the new Democratic majority on the board.
In addition to removing the wording about teacher judgment, the revised policy no longer says that both the principal and the area superintendent need to review and approve requests from parents to change their child to a less difficult math course. The revised policy says only the principal needs to be involved.
The revised policy also drops wording about individual circumstances being considered for placing a student in a higher level course who hasn't taken the prerequisite classes.
Also look today for some speakers to say that the new criteria makes it too hard for students to get into the top track that would allow for two years acceleration in middle school.
Based on the changes since the last version, it's been changed from a second reading to a first reading tonight.