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Fredericksburg schools consider shift to 10-point grading scale
BY ROBYN SIDERSKY
Fredericksburg students may have a new grading scale at the beginning of the next school year.
The School Board heard a presentation Monday about a possible shift to a 10-point grading scale.
Under the new scale, students would receive an A for a score of 90 to 100. Now, middle and high school students in the city must earn a 94 or above to receive an A.
Spotsylvania, Stafford, Caroline and King George counties already use a 10-point grading scale.
Fredericksburg's Lafayette Upper Elementary also already uses that scale. Walker-Grant Middle School and James Monroe High School use a 6-point grading scale, where 94 to 100 is an A.
Hugh Mercer Elementary uses an entirely different grading scale and would not be included in the proposal.
Deputy Superintendent Marci Catlett, who made the presentation with Director of Instruction Harry Thomas, said that if the School Board votes to switch to the new scale, school officials will then determine the values for letter grades and the weight of a student's grade-point average.
According to the presentation, the advantages of moving to the new scale include consistency with surrounding school divisions and with most collegiate-level grading scales as well as uniformity within the city schools.
Disadvantages include the perception that the city is lowering its academic standards, and the adjustments that teachers and staff would need to make when assigning grades and coding them in the district's computers.
Administrators surveyed 134 school divisions in Virginia about their grading scales. Of the divisions that responded, 44 use a 10-point grading scale and 66 do not, according to the presentation.
Regionally, administrators spoke with officials from Albemarle, Caroline, Charlottesville, Hanover, King George, Louisa, Orange, Prince William, Spotsylvania and Stafford.
Of those, Hanover is the only locality that does not use a 10-point scale.
Most reported that they elected to adopt the 10-point scale for consistency with other divisions, some Governor's Schools and institutions of higher learning.
None of those divisions implemented the new grading scale retroactively, so grades earned under the old scale would remain as-is.