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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

School board approves 10-point grading scale
Members say it is more consistent with other divisions, colleges

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer

Beginning next year, Franklin County students will receive grades based on a 10-point scale instead of the six-point scale currently used by the school division.

After two years of soliciting opinions from school officials and parents, the Franklin County School Board voted 7-1 Monday night to implement the change in the 2014-2015 school year.

"I think it's been hashed out enough, and to me, it's the correct route to take," said P.D. Hambrick (Union Hall District).

With the new grading scale, students would receive an "A" for grades of 90 to 100, a "B" for 80 to 89, a "C" for 70 to 79, and a "D" for 60 to 69. Grades below 60 would be failing.

Under the current system, an "A" is earned with grades of 94 to 100, a "B" for 86 to 93, a "C" for 78 to 85, and a "D" for 70 to 77. Grades of 69 and below are failing.

The consensus among board members is that switching to a 10-point scale would make Franklin County's school district more consistent with other districts, counties and states that are already using the 10-point scale. It would also allow Franklin County students greater opportunity for college acceptance and scholarship consideration because most colleges use a 10-point grading scale.

"As far as colleges are concerned, there are many other variables going into the selection of someone going into college," said Superintendent Mark Church, saying that he is more concerned that a student who fails an objective at one point, eventually learns the skill.

Along with the grading scale change, student report cards will reflect the numerical grade, as well as the letter grade.

"Report cards are a communication device to parents," said Sue Rogers, assistant superintendent. "We feel it is important that the parent sees the numerical average that their student has."

The board voted in favor of including the numerical average on report cards each nine weeks, along with a scale depicting the numerical value of each letter grade.

About two years ago, the school board began reaching out to school principals, administrators, guidance counselors, parents and the community to get a feel for their thoughts and opinions on the grading scale. The results from that inquiry showed that the majority was in favor of the 10-point grading scale.

Responders to the inquiry said that, in addition to a level playing field and increased opportunity for students, the 10-point scale would increase student confidence, lower student stress, increase motivation and self esteem, as well as change students' overall attitude towards teachers and school.

Those responders opposing the change felt the 10-point scale would decrease student effort and give them a false sense of achievement.

For struggling students, it may not be as visible when extra help is needed, they said. Overall, the opponents felt the switch would make education "too easy" and hide the true value of an "A" if all schools did not participate equally.

Thad Montgomery (Boone District) cast the dissenting vote.

"When they (students) get out in the world, they will work harder and be better prepared because we've held them to higher standards," Montgomery said during a previous meeting in which he voiced his reservations about making the switch.

However, the majority of community survey responders felt that expectations would not be lowered since rigor in the classroom would probably increase if the 10-point scale were to be implemented.

"This (the switch) will give us grading equality in the region," said G.B. Washburn (Snow Creek District). "I don't see any problem with us, as a division, requiring higher standards for extracurricular activities, sports or things of that nature."

"I think that if this change enables our students to be more competitive in the awarding of scholarship money, then that's a good thing," added Board Chair Sarah Alexander.

 
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