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Question

As assistant superintendent in a Mississippi school district of about 4,000 students, I have been directed by the superintendent and school board to research the negatives and positives of moving from a 7 point grading scale that highly resembles a bell curve to a 10 point grading scale (90-100 = A; 80-89 = B; 70-79 = C; 65-69 = D). After speaking to the registrar office of several junior colleges and universities, I have been advised by the registrars that a 10 point scale is best for our students - especially when it comes to competing for scholarships. To date 110 out of 152 school districts in Mississippi have moved to a 10 point scale. What is your take on moving to a 10 point scale? Are you against it or for it, or is it as simple as that?

2010-05-25
Jack Linton
 

The
Grade
Doctor
says:

What is your take on moving to a 10 point scale? Are you against it or for it, or is it as
simple as that? It is not really as simple as choosing between a 7 point and a 10 point
scale but if that is the choice I favour the 10 point scale where D would be 60-69 and F
50-59. I favour the 10 point scale because I think the 7 point scale is too 'high' and leads
to teachers padding grades so that a reasonable number of students can make a 93%.
The real issue is that in standards-based systems we should not be using percentages at
all but a level system based on proficiency. There is not a right or magic number of levels
but I believe it is between 2 and 7. As the two most highly regarded high school programs
in the world - Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate - only use levels (5 and
7 respectively) and not percentages it seems to me that this is what all school (districts)
should be doing.

 

Roger Curtis's
Comment

2010-07-22

It is with complete disbelief that I read your suggestion of awarding an F with an
accompanying mark of 50 to 59. Survey says F equals failure. But, if you insist, you are in
good company, didn't Ontario's former Minister of Education John Snobelen tell Ontarions
that more money was being spent on education thanks to a redefining of what constitutes
classroom spending. And what of those who receive less than 50? G?


The Grade Doctor's
Comment

2010-08-12

Ethically we have a responsibility to use in our grade books the same mathematical principles that we teach in our classrooms. We teach in math about equal difference and ratio and then use an unequal difference scale (A - 21 points, B - 10, C- 10, D - 10, F - 50) where a zero is a "J" not an "F". The best way to deal with this problem is to eliminate the use of percentages and just use levels (an equal difference scale) but as we have to use a percentage scale in Ontario the lowest score that should ever be recorded is 40%.

One of the big disappointments of "Growing Success" is that after ten years using the achievement charts in Ontario the Ministry of Education is not prepared to fully implement the charts and eliminate the use of percentages.

 

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