Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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April 16, 2007

Social Studies Department working to boost HSA passing rate

by Julia Mazerov, Online Entertainment Editor
In Early November, the Social Studies Department instituted after-school academic support in order to better prepare students for the Government HSA, which will take place on May 25, 2007. This effort, which is headed by NSL teacher Mark Grossman, will continue until the week of the assessment.

Grossman identified over 250 students in the class of 2009 who might benefit from extra help. These students were selected based on their quarter grades, semester exam grade and attendance.

According to the Maryland State Department of Education, the class of 2009 will be the first class that must meet several requirements regarding the HSAs in order to graduate. Though students are not required to pass each individual exam, they must have a combined score for all four exams of at least 1602. If students do not do well on one exam, they can make up for it by doing well on another.

Grossman believes this is where many will benefit from extra help. "If students excel on the NSL HSA, it will help them if they don't do well in other areas."

Though the Social Studies Department has one of the highest HSA passing rates, 22 percent of students have not passed the exam.

The department was issued a $400 grant from the PTSA in order to establish the program. The money pays for free snacks and prizes such as $15 iTunes gift cards and $10 Borders gift cards for the students who attend. Grossman believes that these perks are "incentives for students to take care of what they need to do," and a factor of an overall improvement in grades and test scores for the students that are attending.

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  • Libertarian (View Email) on April 16, 2007 at 2:29 PM
    "Though the Social Studies Department has one of the highest HSA passing rates, 22 percent of students have not passed the exam."

    That's because the NSL HSA is the easiest one by far.

    "Though there is currently no punishment for students that do not attend, Grossman states that he may make the after-school sessions a required assignment, and failure to attend will result in a lowered grade."

    This is wrong. If you force a kid to go to an after-school session and they don't want to learn anything, they won't. The punishment will be their HSA grade. If they don't need the extra help, why should we make them get it? The way it currently is only the kids who truly want help will go which means that everyone there actually cares about learning the material. Cramming it with people who are only there for the free stuff or because of threat of punishment will lower the amount of help the other people, the people who really care about learning, will get. In my opinion, that is wrong.
  • Libertarian (View Email) on April 16, 2007 at 5:38 PM
    Don't know if it makes any difference, but that email address in my last comment's wrong. My email address is the one listed above.
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