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Reasons to Change Grade Scale at PHS

Public school districts across the country use a traditional A, B, C, D, F grading scale. But not all grading scales are equal, and no system is perfect.

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Reasons to Change Grade Scale at PHS

Grace Mower, PHS PaperClip Writer

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While most school districts use a ten-point grade scale, some districts, like the Portsmouth School District, use a less traditional seven-point grade scale.

A ten-point grade scale means that for every ten points, the letter grade changes, and any grade below a 60 is a failing grade. The seven-point grade scale, though, means that for every seven points, the letter grade changes, and any grade below a 70 is a failing grade.

Using the seven-point grade scale can make it harder for students to get higher grades. Some teachers who aren’t used to it may grade students lower than they should. A paper worth a 90 on the ten-point grade scale would be given an A-, but on the seven-point grade scale, an A- is a 93. A teacher used to the ten-point grade scale may still mark it as a 90, which is a B+, unfairly lowering a student’s grade.

The biggest concern is a student’s grade point average (GPA). The GPA is calculated using an unweighted 4.33 scale based on a student’s letter grades. The GPA scale can change between schools, so they won’t always be the same.

Should the grade scale be changed? While it has been in use for decades, there are flaws. Shanyn Grenier, the Portsmouth High School (PHS) college counselor says that colleges have more information than just a student’s transcript and GPA, but the system may not be accurate.

There are so many flaws in the letter grading system that it may be easier to stop using it completely. Letter grades rely on percentage grades, and it may make more sense to just use the percentage grades against a set standard.

Another issue with letter grades is how some students and parents are obsessed with them. The 92 on a paper may just look like a B+, even though it is a high grade. Letter grades can motivate students to study and work hard, but it could also be stressful for them, especially if they previously attended a school using the ten-point grade scale.

Measuring grades against a set standard can reduce teacher inconsistencies. While each teacher might have a different opinion on proficiency, two students taking the same course with different teachers deserve to be graded equally, especially if they’re putting in the same amount of effort.

While the grading methods that are being used have worked, there is room for improvement. Every public high school in the state should use a consistent grade scale, and letter grades should be rethought, or eliminated completely.

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