Wake Ed

Wake County transcripts won’t list both letter and numeric grades

Wake County’s high school transcripts won’t list both letter and numeric grades starting with the classes that are taken in the 2015-16 school year.

Under a policy change adopted by the State Board of Education in January, all high school students will switch to the 10-point grading scale this fall, where an A equals a 90 to 100. All new grades will be reported on transcripts as numeric grades and not letter grades. Grades earned in previous years will be listed as letter grades under the old seven-point scale in use when an A was a 93 to 100.

“A rising senior will see final grades reported as numerical averages on the transcript,” Cathy Moore, deputy superintendent for school performance, told Wake County school board members on Monday. “And that transcript will show the letter grades previously earned in the previous three years.”

While not shown, the new numeric grades will be converted to the quality points awarded for the respective letter grades. The quality points will be averaged to determine grade point averages and class rank on the transcripts.

But some parents and students have been lobbying to list both numeric and letter grades on the transcripts. They want shown the context of how the grading scale was changed mid-career for rising sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Moore told the board’s student achievement committee on Monday that the answer for now is no.

“Our understanding right now is that it will show whatever letters up until the end of last year and then numerical moving forward,” Moore said. “But in terms of a field that will show both, that is not something that’s in there. Although there are discussions about whether or not we even want that or if it could happen.”

Moore said they’d have to go back through the records by hand to find and list the numeric grades for prior years.

School administrators were updating the board on the new grading scale and the other state-mandated change that reduces the amount of credit that high school students will receive for taking Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Honors courses.

AP & IB courses will now be worth one additional quality point instead of two. Honors courses will now be worth 0.5 extra quality points instead of a full quality point.

But while the state is implementing the 10-point grading scale this fall for all high school students, the change for the advanced courses is being phased in with the new freshmen class. Existing high school students will keep the old system that gave them more quality points for those advanced courses.

School board member Bill Fletcher asked if Wake has to use weighted grade point averages on transcripts. Crystal Reardon, Wake’s director of counseling services, answered that it’s required by State Board of Education policy so it’s not optional.