Something Seems Off About NC School Grading System
North Carolina lawmakers are contemplating whether to maintain the state’s 15-point school grading system or allow it to expire.
Before I get too far into this topic, I need to make one thing clear: this story is not about the grading system used for student grades. This is about how schools in North Carolina are graded. There has apparently been a great deal of confusion on that point.
Essentially, schools — not students — in the Tarheel State are graded on a 15-point scale. That means letter grades are assigned for school performance on the following scale:
- A = 100 to 85 percent
- B = 84 to 70 percent
- C = 69 to 55 percent
- D = 54 to 40 percent
- F = 39 to 0 percent
I’ve never attended a school that graded students on such a scale. When I was in school, a 69 or below was an F. To get an A, you had to score at least a 95.
By the time I reached college, a student could earn a 93 and still make an A.
Yes, I’m comparing the school grading system to the student grading system. I realize that. But think about how much easier it would have been for all of us to graduate with top honors if students would have been able to earn an 85 and still bring home an A grade!
That said, one has to wonder what’s being accomplished by letting schools have such a grading system for their own performance.
The answer to that question is pretty simple.
If passed, WTSP-TV in Florida reports, the 15-point system would allow schools a better chance to earn higher scores. Well, sure. I get that. Then I read further into that report and see Florida’s scale: there, an “A” is 62% or greater of points calculated from various components.
I have no idea what kind of scale my state of South Carolina uses, but honestly, after seeing these two, I don’t think I even want to know.
With our education system constantly being criticized as being too slack and not doing enough to prepare students for the future, despite the hard work and dedication of teachers who are often not sufficiently supported or paid, why would we make it easier for our schools to skate by with a top grade?
Shouldn’t we be more critical of how schools are performing, not less?