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High School Freshman Opposes New Grading Scale, Starts Petition

multiple choice test
Alberto G.
Flickr Creative Commons

One high school freshman is determined to change how the new grading scale will be implemented in public schools next year.

Parker Renberg, a freshman at Leesville Road High School in Wake County, says he’s upset that the grading scale changes will not affect him or any other current high school student.

Instead, it’ll begin with next year’s freshman class. They’ll be graded on a 10-point scale, instead of a 7-point scale. That means an A will be a 90-to-100 instead of 93-to-100.

“They could give it to current students, but they’re not. So it almost feels like we’re being robbed,” said Renberg, who wants to either study biomedical engineering or architecture.

He argues that it is not fair that he could be in the same class as a freshman, they could both get 92’s, but he would get a B while the other student would get an A.

“That would be pretty frustrating,” he said.

Renberg has started an online petition to present to the state, which has already garnered hundreds of signatures.

State officials say they have no plans to make revisions to how the changes are rolled out, but acknowledge that some teachers could decide to evaluate all students under the new scale to make grading more manageable.  Officials say that phasing in the new scale will make sure that class rankings stay consistent and fair.

The New Scale

The 7-point scale means that a score between 93 and 100 is an A, 85-to-92 is a B, and so on.

Under the new scale, an A will be 90-to-100, and an 80 will be the lowest B. Scores below 60 will be considered failing.  

Some of the state's largest school districts were pushing for the change, arguing that it would level the playing field. They said that students living in states with 10-point scales are at an advantage when applying to colleges. Only four states require school districts to adopt a 7-point scale. 

One North Carolina student felt so strongly about the issue that he wrote legislation this year, trying to convince lawmakers to move away from the 7-point scale. 

Rebecca Garland, the state’s Chief Academic Officer, has said, “there is no easy way to transition.” But she commends the board for making the move.

Student transcripts will include both number grades and letter grades.

Reema Khrais joined WUNC in 2013 to cover education in pre-kindergarten through high school. Previously, she won the prestigious Joan B. Kroc Fellowship. For the fellowship, she spent a year at NPR where she reported nationally, produced on Weekends on All Things Considered and edited on the digital desk. She also spent some time at New York Public Radio as an education reporter, covering the overhaul of vocational schools, the contentious closures of city schools and age-old high school rivalries.
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