July 7th, 2020 11:56 AM
By Bob Skolnik
The list of students making the fourth quarter honor roll at Riverside-Brookfield High School that the school sent to the Landmark last month is not complete, leaders of the school now say.
"The honor roll listed in the paper is not accurate, and many of our students who earned this honor are not listed due to the process by which we had to calculate remote learning grades in order to stay compliant with directives on grading from the Illinois State Board of Education," said RBHS Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction Kylie Lindquist in an email to the Landmark.
The school emailed the A and B Honor Roll lists to the Landmark on June 1. The newspaper publishes the honor roll online every quarter as a public service and assumes its accuracy.
According to the lists sent in June, far fewer students than typical made the fourth-quarter honor roll this year. Students did not attend classes in person during the fourth quarter, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. All classes during the fourth quarter were conducted remotely.
The honor roll released by the school indicated that 626 students, or 38 percent of the enrollment, made the honor roll in the fourth quarter. The list sent after the third quarter included 1,046 students, or 64 percent of the enrollment.
The disconnect apparently resulted from a mandate from the Illinois State Board of Education that work done during remote learning could not harm a student's grade.
Therefore, if a student's work, or lack thereof, during the fourth quarter merited a grade below what the student earned in the third quarter, the student was given a new grade of E, for "exempt" and the second semester grade would be the student's third quarter grade.
Apparently the RBHS computer system couldn't handle that complication.
"Doing this made it impossible for our grading system to calculate student GPAs correctly for the fourth quarter," RBHS Principal Hector Freytas said in an email. "We are currently working to re-calculate the honor roll for fourth quarter, but since we have to do so by hand, this new list will likely not come out until the fall. As soon as the honor rolls for fourth quarter are recalculated, we will release the corrected honor rolls to the Landmark."
The level of engagement with e-learning at RBHS seems to have been variable. Anecdotal evidence suggests than some students slacked off once they understood that their fourth-quarter grade would not affect their semester grade.
For a time, RBHS established a policy that a student had to turn in at least 60 percent of the assigned work in the fourth quarter or else they would receive a grade of Incomplete and perhaps have to go to summer school.
But school officials apparently relented, at least in part, on that policy later in the semester with one student telling the Landmark that her counselor told her not to worry about the 60 percent rule.
One RBHS parent said that he thought that one reason that fewer students than typical made the honor in the fourth quarter honor roll was that many students slacked off during remote learning.
"There should be some recognition that a lot of kids didn't do any work," said Guy Adami. "Maybe by not giving them a grade, they're doing the right thing."