3 Points Make a BIG Difference

We all know the joy and heartbreak of a three point shot in UNC Basketball. But how do we feel about it when it comes to our high schools? When I first heard about the new ten point grading system that North Carolina was adopting, I was livid. I worked my butt off to get into UNC and then when I am out of the public school system, North Carolina chose to make the grading scale easier. If I had that scale when I was in high school, then I would have made all A’s in my classes, take that calculus. The reasoning behind this was that parents thought it would take more stress off of the kids. Fun fact: Wake County was a huge supporter of this bill. I really believe that a seven point system is the better system for high school students. It makes the students work harder for the grades they want, thus instilling a work ethic in students which they need to succeed in college.

When I went to college having the adjustment to the ten scale system was a life saver. Freshman year of college can be a shock to your system. College is so much harder than any of my teachers in high school told me it would be, so having those three more points on the scale were a gift. I needed some time to get my feet wet with my grades while I got acquainted with the higher quality of work that was expected of me. So the ten point scale evened the work to grade ratio a bit for me and probably a lot of other kids. Now in College if I got an 83 on a paper I would get a B versus the C I would have received in high school. I feel like the transition to college will be more difficult for the kids with the ten point scale.

In addition to the new grading school, North Carolina decided to change the GPA weights of the Advanced Placement and honors course. Now AP courses are 5 points compared to the 6 they were, and honors course are 4.5 instead of 5. Once again, the state released a statement which sad they hope this will take more stress off of the students during their high school career. I DON’T AGREE.  I keep having this vision of kids just trying to take more and more Honors and AP classes to try and raised their unwieghted GPA to be more competitive.

However, I do understand the theory behind the new systems. The legislature just wants to create a more equal playground for all students. While I find these efforts very admirable, I can’t see this as a long term solution. Now this may be me being a naïve 20 year old, but I am someone who cares so much about the education system. I want to teach, I want my future students to succeed so hopefully I’m wrong but I can’t shake the bad feeling I have about this.

Abby

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2 Responses to 3 Points Make a BIG Difference

  1. khjinni says:

    Hi Abby! I attended an IB school with a 7-point grading system also and I personally did not like it. But it’s interesting to hear from a different perspective. The reason I wasn’t fond of the system was because no matter what grade the school gave me, it would somehow have to be translated to a 4.0 gpa system and eventually into As, Bs, Cs when we send our transcripts to universities. I thought, “if the world is accustomed to using the 4.0 gpa system and ABCDF grading scale, why add another 7 point scale?” It all seemed useless, but I understand why some students and many university officials are leaning toward a different grading system. It’s nice to know that there are alternatives out there in the world. However, I would ask you if you really think this would ultimately free students from the stress of grades? Changing a few numbers may seem to make a big difference on the surface, but fundamentally, would it make things easier for students?

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  2. devin17h says:

    Hi Abby! I think that you bring up an interesting topic. Growing up in the Durham-Chapel Hill area, I had several friends that made scheduling decisions based on the math of the 6-point scale. Some of my friends would opt for a free period rather than an elective that they were interested in because they didn’t want a 4.0 averaged into their GPA to bring their average down. Since class rank was based on GPA, the highest ranked individuals at my school were the ones who took every AP. Often, these same kids went to universities in which only two or less AP credits were accepted. To get there, they took classes they weren’t interested in, because the math worked out better. Such a system discourages many students from pursuing coursework that they are genuinely interested in learning. For this group, the change would be beneficial, because they would not be as penalized for taking a standard art, music or history elective. However, for other groups, who would not take a rigorous course unless they were adequately rewarded for it, this change in policy could prove problematic and discouraging. I think the issue at the heart of this debate is what do we think should motivate students? Which students are being motivated by certain policies? And how do we find a way to promote the best possible learning environment?

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