New Grading Scale for Rising High School Freshmen

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Beginning next school year with the entering class of high school freshman, a new 10-point grading scale will replace the long-standing 7-point scale. That means an A is anything 90 or higher rather than a 93 or higher, B equals 80 or higher and so forth. Also the weight of AP and honors classes toward a student’s GPA will be reduced beginning in 2014-15 school year.

With all the changes due to Common Core and changes in EOC and EOG testing, the change has many wondering if the new grading scale is a way to make the overall accountability of students look better. Advocates of the change, including the state Board of Education, say the change makes for a level playing field for teens planning on college because other states follow the 10-point grading scale. By making the switch to the 10-point scale, grade-point averages are the same for students around the country.

That said, however, not many states have a blanket grade-point scale, and leave it to individual school systems to determine the grading system. So I’m not sure I buy into the argument for the switch, but I’m also not sure it’s a bad thing. Bottom line to me is, are students getting the education they need to go to college. And with a switch in the grade-point system it seems more important than ever to be sure kids are prepared to take on the rigor of a college curriculum. 

As standards have risen for high-school, even middle-school students (well actually even elementary-school kids), I think that students, in theory, should be better prepared for college. In hearing from friends with teens, what teens have to do now to even be considered for college, it’s a whole lot harder than what existed when I was applying to colleges. The idea of extracurricular being just that “extra”curricular, isn’t true. You have to have a list of accolades, show that you participate in community activities in addition to the high GPA.

Education is changing anyway you slice it. As a parent, I get caught up in all the talk of changes and is it good or bad, but then I stop and think about what matters is that my child comes away a well-rounded individual who can make smart decisions and a base education that enables him to make smart choices about his future as a career-minded adult. To me what matters is that we can keep teachers in the classroom that want to be there to guide our children, that funds are appropriated so resources are available for a variety of classes that prepare students for the future. Less emphasis needs to be put on testing and more on making the minds of our children vibrant, alive and excited to learn. Maybe it will take some pressure off students. And is that a bad thing?

What’s your take? Good or bad move by the state Board of Education?