Education

NC switching all high school students to 10-point grading scale this fall

Teacher Brian Shaffer, center, explains a problem to Cassie Bush, left, and Jason Phillips, right, during a math class at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh last year.
Teacher Brian Shaffer, center, explains a problem to Cassie Bush, left, and Jason Phillips, right, during a math class at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh last year. cseward@newsobserver.com

The State Board of Education voted Thursday to switch all high school students to the new 10-point grading scale this fall, reversing its previous decision to phase in the change during the next three years.

Starting with the 2015-16 school year, all high school students, instead of just freshmen, will be on a 10-point grading scale in which scores between 90 and 100 earn an A. It will replace the seven-point grading scale in which scores between 93 and 100 earn an A.

The change will not be applied retroactively to grades from this school year or to prior years. But state officials say they want future transcripts to list both numerical scores and letter grades and also to note that the seven-point grading scale was used through the 2014-15 school year.

The change will affect the way grade-point averages, or GPAs, are calculated for transcripts and class rank. North Carolina is one of a few states that set guidelines for high school grading scales and transcripts.

Parents and school officials had lobbied the state to drop the seven-point scale, saying it put North Carolina students at a disadvantage against college applicants graded on a 10-point scale.

The board had voted in October to begin the 10-point grading scale with the 2015-16 school year’s freshmen class. But with many classes containing students at multiple grade levels, opponents of phasing the change in noted that classmates with the same numerical score could get a different letter grade.

The State Board is still going ahead with its decision to reduce the credit for taking Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and honors courses. That change still starts with freshmen this fall and won’t affect current high school students.

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