Norfolk Public Schools Grading Policy

11 10 2009

I support Norfolk’s new policy, but I must suggest that they present it differently. This new system is very similar to the system that many colleges and private schools use. Let me explain. First, disregard everything that you have heard about their new policy because they don’t know how to explain it right. The reason that they say not to give a zero but instead give a 61 is because the teachers still use a numerical based grading system. Pretend I took 4 tests over the course of the year. My grades are as follows:

  1. 96% – A
  2. 86% – B-
  3. 21% – F (E in Public School)
  4. 100% – A+

The letter grades assigned are based on the grading policy of Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia Beach. Based on a numerical grading system, my average would be a 75% or a D+. For all intents and purposes, I was a good student that received A’s and B’s but I had one bad day and now average to a D+. Using a non-numerical, or Letter-based grading system, which is essentially what Norfolk has adopted but has explained terribly, I would average a B-, which is more inline with my overall performance.

Basically, a teacher grades an assignment as he/she would normally do. Instead of recording the numerical grade in the grade book, however, the letter grade would be recorded. The letter grades are then averaged at the end of the semester, similar to how the school figures out Grade Point Averages.  To test this for yourself, I will post the scale below, once again, from BSCHS’s grading policy

  • FOR ASSIGNMENTS:
  1. A+ :  98-100
  2. A    :  95-97
  3. A-   :  93-94
  4. B+  :  90-92
  5. B     :  87-89
  6. B-   :  85-86
  7. C+  :  82-84
  8. C     :  79-81
  9. C-    :  77-78
  10. D+  :  75-76
  11. D     :  72-74
  12. D-   :  70-71
  13. F     :  69 and below
  • TO AVERAGE GRADES
  1. A+  :  4.3
  2. A     :  4.0
  3. A-   :   3.7
  4. B+   :  3.3
  5. B      :  3.0
  6. B-    :  2.7
  7. C+   :  2.3
  8. C      : 2.0
  9. C-    : 1.7
  10. D+  : 1.3
  11. D     : 1.0
  12. D-   : 0.7
  13. F     : 0

Once its laid out in a simple format, it should be relatively easy to understand why it is definitely a more desirable system. It doesn’t make it so that you can’t fail, it simply make it so that correcting your actions will matter. If a student gets all F’s he/she will still fail. But if that student really decides to correct his/her behavior, it will actually matter. You should be able to see why it didn’t matter before. If you know somewhat that remains misinformed, please enlighten them.

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