Polk Board of Education adopts system-wide 10-point grading scale

Published 10:00 pm Friday, August 14, 2015



By Brandon Shanesy

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Polk County Board of Education members voted on Monday, Aug. 10 to update the grading scale and GPA calculation method.


In the past, Polk County relied on a seven point grading scale. Under this format, 93-100 would earn an A, 85-92 a B, 77-84 a C, 70-76 a D. Anything below a 70 would warrant an F.


In October of 2014, the North Carolina Board of Education voted to phase in a 10-point scale at the high school level over a three-year period, beginning with the 2015-16 freshman class.


With a 10-point scale, 90-100 is an A, 80-89 a B, 70-79 a C, 60-69 a D and 59-below an F.


North Carolina superintendents and over 3,000 signees of a change.org petition convinced the NC Board of Education to rethink the decision to phase the change in, citing complexity and unfairness.


For example, a senior earning a 90 would receive a B, whereas a freshman in the same classroom, also earning a 90, would receive an A.


In January, the NC Board of Education reversed the October decision, and introduced the 10-point grading scale for all high school students going forward.


Following the decision, the Polk County Board of Education voted to adopt the 10-point grading scale for all Polk schools, from elementary to high school.


“It’s a standard that they need to get used to,” said Polk County Superintendent Bill Miller. “You don’t want to make it harder for a third grader to get an A than it is for an eleventh grader.”


The changes will have the largest impact on those at the lower end of the grading scale.


While the room for error in earning an A has increased by three points, students in the coming school year will have an extra 10 point buffer zone to pass, changing the minimum requirement to receive a D from 70 to 60.


“I liked what we had, but I do understand,” said Miller.  “The argument at the state level was about the concept of North Carolina students being put at a disadvantage when they competed against students from other states to get into college. Where other students were making 90s and getting an A, ours were getting a B.”


Slight changes were made to grade point average calculations as well.


High school students will now receive .5 quality points for an honors class, as opposed to one point in the year prior.


Advanced placement courses were dropped from two points to one, in line with the quality points received from college courses taken by dual-enrollment students.


Quality points provide a boost to represent the increased difficulty of honors, AP and college level classes.


“I think our teachers will adjust and we will continue to have high standards no matter what the cutoff numbers are,” Miller said.


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