West Virginia students could get more input in class choices

Published: Dec. 12, 2019 at 12:12 PM EST
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Students in West Virginia may have some changes coming to their high-school-graduation checklist.

The West Virginia Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to put a policy into public comment that would allow students to personalize their requirements for graduation.

“It’s a student's GPS to success upon graduation,” State Superintendent Steven Paine said.

Officials said the change would allow them to better prepare for their post-high school plans.

“Basically the policy is actually to cater to them to keep them interested in education and meet their needs,” said Joey Wiseman, executive director of the West Virginia Office of Middle and Secondary Learning.

Under the new plan, students would have 10 prescribed credits and 12 personalized credits. Students would have the ability to choose two of each of their four math credits and English credits and one of each of their three science and social studies credits.

The policy also gives students a flex credit, where they can choose between another social studies or science credit or a career tech education course or a computer science course.

Paine said the plan would not change the standard of learning but would make learning more palatable for a wider range of students.

“The standards I wouldn't say necessarily are higher, but there's more flexibility and the policy is structured to accommodate the individuality of all of our students,” Paine said. “That’s the strength of the policy.”

The policy would also require all middle and schools to offer a virtual option for their students, either through their county's program or the state's virtual school.

“The whole thing about this policy is personalizing the education for the students,” Wiseman said. “We want to be able to meet their needs because if you keep students interested, you're going to see increases in achievement, you're going to see increases in attendance, you're going to see increases in everything with them.”

The policy change would also require all West Virginia schools to implement a career-exploration experience for middle-school students starting in July 2021.

The public comment period on the policy will last until Jan. 24.