Those of you that have listened to the podcast already know this, but I may have been holding a little information back when it comes to the Bledsoe situation. As Matt put it, Academics is one area I can at least sound like an expert discussing, so I’m going to try and give some perspective to the information brought up by the Birmingham News piece last week.
As far as I’m concerned (and I think the public in general,) the piece brings up two ‘allegations,’ to support the theory that maybe Bledsoe’s high school grades weren’t on the up and up. Those ‘allegations,’ seem to center around:
1. He took Algebra 3 before Algebra 2.
2. His grade report from the night class did not match the final report on his transcript.
With regards to the ‘missing prerequisite:’
As you have probably heard Matt mention, it is not out of the ordinary (in Kentucky at least,) to take Algebra 3 before Algebra 2. In fact, it’s so not out of the ordinary that I did that very thing in high school. Algebra 3 consisted of the areas that couldn’t be covered in geometry (mostly trig,) and algebra 2, but the class was structured so that you didn’t need to take 2 before 3. It’s not conventional to do them out of order, but plenty of students do it every year.
The fact that the Principal (the one that was fired for extortion,) said he would not have allowed it had he seen the transcript only goes to prove why he’s not currently a guidance counselor. It’s not the Principals job to know how scheduling works.
With regards to the grade report vs transcript:
The core issue surrounding this news article seems to stem from the fact that the newspaper allegedly received a ‘grade report’ from Eric’s night class in which he appeared to receive a high C and a low B in two classes. However, on his High School transcript he reportedly received A’s in those same classes. Again I have a personal experience that offers a plausible explanation.
A close friend of mine recently transfered colleges, and when he did so, his 1.8 GPA was wiped clean. The credits from the course transfered, but not the grades. This let him start new, and he ended up graduating with around a 3.5 two years later.
What does this have to do with Bledsoe? Well, it could explain the grade discrepencies. Since the night class he was taking was through BYU, and if the grade reports were accurate, it could be that only the credit transferred to his high school transcript and not the grade. In this case, the school policy could be to award either an ‘A’ passing grade or an ‘F’ failing grade. The credit transfer policy is what they do in colleges, and while I’m not certain the policy in Alabama schools, it could explain the discrepancies if they prove to be correct.
None of this proves anything one way or the other. But what it does do is provide plausible explanations for the main points addressed in the Birmingham News.