• gallery image -
  • gallery image - Rainbow Over the School
  • gallery image -
  • gallery image - Art by John Fladd 1972
  • gallery image - Marcus Whitman Middle School

Quick Links

district home



Adoption Date: 5/13/2013, Revised: 1/13/2020
4000 - Instruction



Determination of class rank shall be made using the following standard procedures in the


 •         Ranking of students in grades 9-11 will occur at the end of forty weeks, following the distribution of final grades.

•          For the purpose of identifying a senior valedictorian and salutatorian, and the top ten seniors, seniors will be ranked by weighted grade point average at thirty weeks (following the distribution of third quarter report cards).

 •         Foreign exchange students and students earning IEP diplomas will not be included in class ranking.

•          A student who has the highest weighted grade point average shall be given the distinction of valedictorian.  A student who has the second highest weighted grade point average shall be given the distinction of salutatorian.  Students with a "tied" weighted GPA shall be designated as co-valedictorian or co-salutatorian respectively.

•          A student who elects to graduate early, having completed graduation requirements in less than 8 semesters of high school, shall have his/her weighted grade point average computed and be eligible for recognition of achievement of top honors.

•          To be considered for first or second honors (valedictorian and salutatorian), a student must have been enrolled in the District for two consecutive years prior to graduation.

•          A final senior ranking, for the purpose of recognition of the students with weighted grade point averages of 90 or above at graduation, will be determined at the end of thirty weeks.

•          Following graduation, a final senior rank will be shared with colleges.  This information will be available to a student and shared with colleges.

For the purpose of determining the weighted grade-point averages used to determine class rank, the following standard procedures shall be followed:

 •         In determining marking period averages, grades for all credit bearing classes will be computed to determine marking period averages. The grades will be calculated in the average on the basis of their credit bearing status. For example, half credit courses will be calculated on .5 in calculating weighted cumulative averages and full credit courses will be calculated on a 1.0.

•          Three tiers for establishing weighted grade point averages are designated asfollows:

General curriculum                                        1.00

Honors,Gemini courses*                                1.02

Advanced Placement  (AP)                             1.05

 *College Courses taught outside of Marcus Whitman will not be included in weight grading.

•          Unweighted grade point averages(GPA) are established by calculating the final averages of all courses recorded on the transcript, divided by the number of credits each course is assigned.

•          Weighted grade point averages (WGPA) are a recalculation of the GPA.  The WGPA is calculated using the same formula described for GPA but after individual final course averages have been recalculated to reflect the level of rigor as defined in the three tier designations.  Averages will be determined to the nearest tenth.

 Example:  Student earned a 90% in Advanced Placement Level English 12:
90% is recorded on the un-weighted section of the transcript.
95% is recorded on the weighted section of the transcript. (90% X  1.05=94.5%)

•          This weighting is intended as encouragement and recognition for students who challenge themselves by taking the most rigorous courses available in the District.

•          When a class has been repeated, only the highest final grade will be used in calculating the grade point average.

•          The highest Regents Exam grade obtained in a course will be used in calculating a student's final course average.

 •         High School courses successfully completed while in middle school will be included in the GPA/WGPA calculation and documented on the transcript reflecting that the course was taken in Grade 8.

•          Transferred credits and grades from other school systems are detailed on the student's transcript based on official documentation received from previous school systems. Transferred credits and grades are used to calculate GPA/WGPA if from a New York State public institution.

Student transcripts shall include the following:

•          All credit-bearing courses taken and grades earned for those courses

•          Weighted and unweighted GPA

•          Class Rank

•          PSAT, SAT and ACT scores

•          All State assessment scores

•          Total number of credits earned

•          Diploma type and date earned


All procedures for determining class rank and for computing grade point averages will be shared
with staff, parents, and students through publication in the Marcus Whitman Central School student agendas (for students in grades 6-12), and in the High School Course Handbook.

It is essential that each child experience both challenge and success from school activities.  To this end, the district will make every effort to place each student in the most appropriate learning level for a successful educational experience.

District curriculum guides indicate goals for achievement by the "average" student at each grade level. However, academic growth, like physical growth, does not take place at the same pace or time for all individuals. Certain students may achieve mastery in a shorter period, while others need additional time. Early identification and intervention, promotion and retention are methods of meeting the needs of such children.


The following guidelines shall govern student progression:

Early Identification/Intervention

Classroom teachers are expected to make every effort, consistent with the district’s implementation of response to intervention (RTI), to identify early those students at risk of failing. The Building Principal and the parents/guardian must be notified promptly if retention is anticipated, and a special support program shall be designed for each child identified as in danger of failing. Such support services may include, but are not limited to, individualized assistance before, during or after the school day; a change in instructional approach, remedial classes; and, where appropriate, referral to the Committee on Special Education for evaluation.




Elementary schools.  At the elementary level, students who pass all subjects will be promoted. Students who do not make satisfactory progress in one or more basic subjects – Reading, English, Mathematics, Spelling, Social Studies and Science – shall have their cases considered on an individual basis and may be retained. Retention shall be limited to those situations where the best interest of the child is reasonably assured. Diligent effort shall be made to use all available resources to determine the child’s appropriate placement.


Middle schools.  Students who pass all subjects but one shall have the failure evaluated and a determination made as to the reason for the failure. The student may be required to repeat the subject, but in typical cases shall be promoted with recommendation for either summer school or assignment to a lower academic ability group. The decision shall be arrived at by consensus from a case conference approach involving teacher, Principal and guidance counselor.


Students who fail two subjects shall have their cases considered on an individual basis through a case conference approach described above.

Students who fail more than two subjects shall fail for the year.

Senior High School.  In general, promotion from one class to the next shall be contingent upon the passing of all required subjects and the accumulation of 4 or 5 units of credit at each level.

Academic standards. Building Principals shall be responsible for ensuring that written standards for student progress at each grade level are available to parents and others upon request. Such academic standards are to be forwarded to the Superintendent of Schools each year.

Retention.  A decision to retain shall be arrived at by consensus from a case conference approach involving the teacher, Building Principal, school psychologist, and parent/guardian. Factors to be considered include teacher recommendation; classroom achievement and attitude; standardized test scores; social and emotional development; results of the family conference; and, for identified students, recommendations by the Committee on Special Education. Standardized test scores will not be the sole or primary factor in the decision.  If a consensus cannot be reached, the decision of the Building Principal shall be final.

No student will be retained without an appropriate educational plan defining what will occur that is instructionally different for the student. Once the educational plan has been implemented, the student will be monitored regularly. The educational plan will be revised until the student demonstrates acceptable performance.

In order to inform parents/guardians about the district’s approach to promotion and retention, this policy will be posted on the district website and included in student and/or parent handbooks.



Ref:      Education Law §§ 305(47); 1709; 2503(4); 3202
            8 NYCRR §§ 100.2(ll); 100.3(b)(2); 100.4(b)(2),(e)
            Isqwith v. Levitt, 285 App. Div. 833; 137 N.Y.S.2d 497 (1955)
            Matter of Eckert, 13 EDR 270 (1979)
            Op. Counsel, 1 EDR 775 (1952)

Policy Cross References: