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2002 Opinions

Date:   November 22, 2002
Prepared By:   Jason Fudge
Phone:   (850) 488-7707
Suncom:   278-7707
Opinion No.:   02-10
Staff Contact:    
MEMORANDUM OPINION
TO: C. Graham Carothers, Esquire
Ausley & McMullen
Attorney for the Leon County School Board
FROM: Daniel J. Woodring, General Counsel
SUBJECT: Honors credit and Rule 6A-1.09441, Florida Administrative Code
RE: Your opinion request dated October 2, 2002

QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether the School District can, without violating Rule 6A-1.09441, Florida Administrative Code, grant a student honors credit for the Latin I and II courses he took during the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 school year.

CONCLUSION: Yes, the School District could grant a student honors credit for Latin I and II courses without violating Rule 6A-1.09441, Florida Administrative Code. In doing so, however, the District cannot treat Latin I and II courses as Level 3, or above, courses.

DISCUSSION: You have presented the following factual scenario for our opinion. The parents of a local high school student state that the student was told by his Latin teacher that the Latin I and II courses he took in the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 school years would be designated as honors courses. The parents also inform you that although the paperwork for approval of Pre-IB Latin I and II courses (with honors credit) was submitted to the Department in 1999 or 2000, the courses were not approved until 2001.1 The parents inquire whether there is a “specific rule that prohibits the District from awarding honors credit for the Latin I and II courses that the student took?”

You stated that the School Board of Leon County (LCSB) has adopted Policy 4.15, which is the Regular Pupil Progression Plan (“PPP”). Section 4.151 of the PPP states: Courses offered in Leon District Schools must be identified by a course code number listed in the current edition of the Florida Department of Education Course Code Directory and Instructional Personnel Assignments.

Rule 6A-1.09441, Florida Administrative Code, requires that programs for which students may earn credits toward high school graduation be listed in the Course Code Directory. You go on to state that the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 Course Code Directories listed Latin I and II as general level courses and did not include Latin I-Pre IB nor Latin II – PreIB. However, you state that the 2002-2003 Course Code Directory listed Latin I – PreIB and Latin II – PreIB as honors courses.

In the narrative to the Course Code Directory it designates Level 2 courses as regular, mainstream courses. Level 3 courses are designated as honors, international baccalaureate, advanced placement, and other rigorous and advanced college-preparatory courses. Latin I and II are designated as Level 2 courses in the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 Course Code Directories. The Course Code Directory does not assign weights to individual courses, nor does it provide guidance as to which courses should be weighted.

Section 232.2463, Florida Statutes, states that “[f]or the purposes of class ranking, school districts may exercise a weighted grading system.” Paragraph (3)(d)14 of the PPP, provides the following

Honors and College-Level Dual Enrollment Courses. As identified in the Leon County Schools Educational Program and Graduation Requirements Catalogue, these courses are recognized as having additional requirements beyond the standard high school course and as such generate a higher grade point average (GPA) quality point for the semester grade earned ("A" = 5 points; "B" = 4 points; "C" = 3 points; "D" = 1 point; "F" = 0 points).

The policy implemented by LCSB does not expressly differentiate between Level 2 and Level 3, or above, courses for the purposes of weighting. So, in theory LCSB could weight Latin I and II courses without violating Rule 6A-1.09441, Florida Administrative Code.

However a review of the Leon County Course directory shows that LCSB only weights Level 3, or above, courses. Consequently, to give weighted credit to Latin I and II, LCSB would have to treat Latin I and II courses (Level 2 courses) as Level 3, or above, courses. Doing so, however, would be contrary to 6A-1.09441, Florida Administrative Code, because Latin I and II were not designated as Level 3, or above, courses in the Course Code Directories during the years in question.

JF/mak

1 From the e-mail you attached to your letter it appears that Ms. Winstanley began the process for establishing Pre-IB Latin I and II during the Spring of 2000. Those courses were approved either in the late Fall of 2000 or early Spring of 2001 as part of the annual review of the Course Code Directory. Notice of the approved courses was sent to the Districts June 29, 2001.

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