IW urged to adjust grading scale

Published 9:17 pm Saturday, July 10, 2010

In Isle of Wight County Schools, a grade of 90 is a B, while in some districts it’s an A. That inequity, some parents say, is hurting the county’s students when it comes to college admissions and scholarships.

“It is simply an unnecessary hardship for the students of Isle of Wight County—and the students of Virginia in general—to not be on a level playing field, especially when they are competing for scholarships,” said parent Judy Morin.

Morin was one of several parents to appear before the School Board Thursday asking that the grading scale be adjusted to a 10-point scale. Currently, a grade of 94 to 100 is an A; 86 to 93 is a B; 78-85 is a C; and 70-77 is a D.

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Parent Leslie Effler told the board research shows that colleges, tasked with sifting through thousands of applications, look at grade-point averages and don’t consider grading scales when making admissions and scholarship decisions.

“Our children are at huge disadvantage the way things are,” Effler said. “We, Isle of Wight County, are losing thousands, maybe millions of dollars (in scholarships) based on our grading scale.”

Some school boards across the state, and in Hampton Roads, have recently approved 10-point grading scales.

“We can work together now to make the right decision or delay this until we are one of the only schools left in our area without a 10-point grading scale,” said Kirstin Cook, a former teacher with two children attending the county’s schools.

Parents advocating a 10-point grading scale were adamant in stating that it is not an attempt to “dumb down” the county’s schools.

“The curriculum would not change,” Effler said.

One parent suggested that a 10-point grading scale could even help motivate students who are at risk for dropping out.

“These students would benefit greatly from a 10-point grading system and might be motivated to stay in school and graduate,” said Teri Jane Grumbling.

School Board members didn’t discuss the grading scale Thursday, but Chairman David Goodrich requested that it be placed on the agenda for discussion at the board’s August meeting.