Overall, outcome-based education is meeting the goal that says all students can succeed in learning what the school wants them to learn. In fact, students in the Juab School District are achieving at even higher standards, said a school official.
But, said Steve Olsen, district coordinator of the program, a small portion of students still refuse to become accountable. "Ten percent of the students are capable but choose not to function," said Olsen."While we've made some terrific gains, there are still some students who choose not to learn."
Olsen said the way to deal with the problem might be to hold back such students a year. District educators have been discussing the problem and wonder if that might not be a way to wake these students up.
The make-up room at the middle school is helping students understand they must get work in and must be responsible. Students who do not accomplish the required work are sent to the room, under a plan designed to help each student complete work missed.
"The message is that, `We are in this school to work,' " said Olsen. The number of students sent to the make-up room has decreased by about one-fourth since the program's inception last year.
However, a number of students still are refusing to learn, said Olsen. At the middle school, about 45 students would be affected if a retention policy requiring them to repeat a grade were adopted, he said. He anticipates the number would soon drop as more students understood the seriousness of education.
Dale Fowkes said he did not like the idea of retaining students. He preferred a positive effect, he said, rather than a negative one.
Olsen said there are extrinsic rewards as well as intrinsic rewards. For example, he said, seven of the 35 students in his class did not get to go to Lagoon with the rest of the students. "I told them, `You made that choice day after day,' " said Olsen. "It has spurred five of the seven to change."
During the summer months, district educators and parents will be talking about whether or not to use retention as a means of helping students, Olsen said.
"It will take a lot of dialogue," said Superintendent Kirk Wright, "before a plan is developed and is ready for final consideration."