• May 25 Class Elections for Grades 9-11 – (Homeroom)

  • May 23 Annual Academic Awards Banquet – (Lower Gym – 6:00PM; Aud.7:00PM – Awards)

  • May 22 Financial Fitness Fair for Interested Juniors – (Loring Job Corps)

  • May 21 Tennis Singles Round of 46 & 32 – (Colby College – 8:30AM)

  • May 21-25 Destination Imagination Global Finals – Knoxville TN

Graduation Standards

Yes or No?

Presque+Isle+High+School%27s+class+of+2021+is+the+first+group+to+graduate+based+on+having+met+graduation+standards.
Presque Isle High School's class of 2021 is the first group to graduate based on having met graduation standards.

Presque Isle High School's class of 2021 is the first group to graduate based on having met graduation standards.

Andrew McArthur

Andrew McArthur

Presque Isle High School's class of 2021 is the first group to graduate based on having met graduation standards.

Molly Irwin, Staff Writer

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Every class of students at some point feels they are the guinea pigs for changes. The freshmen class of 2021 at PIHS is no exception. What are the new changes?  Graduation Standards.

PIHS school website
Principal Ben Greenlaw believes the standards provide more clarity in terms of what students can or cannot do.

The graduation standards are on a 1-4 number scale. If a student has a 2.5 or below, they are falling behind, or not proficient. If the student scores a three it means they have met the standard, and if they score a four they have definitely exceeded the standard.

“The purpose of graduation standards is to more clearly define the skills of our students,” Principal Ben Greenlaw said. “We want students to be prepared for the next phase of their lives, and identifying specific skills or proficiencies that a student has met provides more detail about a learner’s experiences.” He explained the rationale behind standards. “The thought process is that being proficient in a specific skill or standard is more helpful than getting a traditional number grade on a report card, like a ‘75’. What does that ‘75’ mean in regards to what the student has learned over the course of the quarter or semester? Grades should reflect what a student knows and is able to do. Standards help to clearly articulate that.”

Ellie Smith
Freshman Ellie Smith can see both sides when it comes to the graduation standards for freshmen.

Trey Stewart, Maine House Representative for Maine District 147 and Education Committee member says,“The standards have been around for decades and were originally intended to provide districts with the outline for what they need to be offering kids in their schools to be well-educated members of society and prepare them for any post-secondary education they may want to achieve.” According to Stewart, the success of kids is the main aim of the standards.

As Stewart says, “These are changed every once in a while given the opinions of the legislature to adjust how we educate high school kids for adulthood/college and what the legislature feels is important to include.” He continued, “It can sometimes be a moving target, but the core of education (English, science, math, history) hasn’t changed that much in recent years.”

There’s an abundance of opinions on the matter, which is why Georgia Gardiner ’21 expresses her dismay.

“I would completely get rid of them because I just find them dumb, unnecessary, not useful, and I just don’t like them at all,” she says. “I hate everything about them.”

Trey Stewart’s Facebook
Trey Stewart speaks with a group of Maine students.

The standards are not worth all of the hassle and frustration, in some students’ opinions.

Ellie Smith ’21 says, “The standards just add more stress to our school days and they just give tons of pressure.” Smith does not think they are effective for our grade level. “If you don’t do good, employers will look at it as bad, so why bother with them if we had been doing fine work already?”

There’s also a lot of time consuming grading isn’t necessarily good.

“I would change the grading and tracking. Right now we have to give each assessment a numerical 1-100 grade and standard 1-4 grade. This requires a lot of extra time grading,” says health teacher Janelle Sargent. “I don’t like the extra time involved in the grading and tracking,” she said.

There are some ways to look positively at the standards.

Smith says, “The only thing I like about the standards is if you do well on them, it shows employers that you can handle a lot of pressure.”

Sargent says, “I like that it is a more specific snapshot of a student’s ability. It allows teachers to provide more specific instruction based on areas that students are struggling.”

If the students score well in regards to the graduation standards, do the grades benefit the state, school, or faculty in any way? Greenlaw says, “As for how standards benefit the State of Maine, I’m not sure how to answer that. I guess it benefits the state by being able to say that Maine graduates have specific skills through showing proficiency on challenging standards.”

A student’s score can lead to excellent college acceptances and important job opportunities.

Some prefer the standards to continue, but, like so many changes, they are met with dislike, anger, and frustration.

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