Competition and soaring higher education costs have prompted many school divisions to revisit the impact local grading policies have on college admissions, receipt of merit-based scholarships, and placement into post-secondary honors programs. These factors, among others, make it imperative that our own GCPS grading scale provides our students with the most appropriate framework from which to compete with peers across the Commonwealth and nation.
We have taken time over the last 11 months to review the research, collaborate with our school community, and consider the implications of of our current grading scale and potential changes to it. And in the end, we have made the collective decision to implement a new “10-point” grading scale beginning with the start of the 2013-14 school year.
Substantive considerations throughout our decision making included the following:
• Both the federal government and The College Board use a 10-point grading scale in the absence of information from schools for data gathering and program purposes.
• At the local level grading policies have been reviewed in large numbers over the past few years, and 75 out of the 78 school divisions that recently reviewed their grading policies made the decision to adopt a 10-point grading scale.
• Analysis of responses from 64 colleges and universities identified the 10-point grading scale (and corresponding letter grades) as the most common grading scale observed.
• Fifty-five (55) percent of the 64 colleges and universities do not recalculate students’ GPAs from a non-10-point scale to a 10-point scale. Forty-five (45) percent do.
• Approximately 35% of the colleges and universities that offer merit scholarships and/or honors programs require a minimum GPA for consideration.
• Substantial evidence exists of a national trend to make sense of multiple, complex, often confusing grading scales.
• During applicant screening, top tier colleges and universities consider course rigor and student performance in those rigorous courses.
• Colleges and universities evaluate applicants in the context of each high school’s profile: locality’s transcript cover sheet – course offering/availability, grading scale, weighting consideration, state graduation requirements, etc.
• GHS students are involved in programming outside of GHS: Blue Ridge, JSRCC, etc.
• Teachers, their expectations, curriculum, and school/classroom culture determine rigor.
Students, parents, and community are encouraged to contact our school counselors, principals, or me with any questions.