GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — North Carolina’s state Board of Education decided high school teachers will transition to a ten-point grading scale starting next school year.
North Carolina schools currently use a seven-point scale, meaning an “A” is a score from 93 to 100.
Under the new grading scale, an “A” is a score from 90 to 100.
Southwest Guilford High School sophomore Tyler Carter says it will really help students struggling at the lower end of the grading scale.
“We were told kids coming out-of-state who usually have a 10-point grading scale, they have a higher GPA than us with lower grades. So it kind of levels the playing field when it comes to college applications,” Carter said.
“To me, it enhances their transcript,” Southwest Principal Alan Parker agreed. “We’re in favor of that. That’s more consistent with how colleges grade students. It’s also more consistent with how other states grade students. It gives us a fair shot at being more competitive.”
The state originally considered phasing in the grading scale changes over three years. But educators and students across the state worried that would be unfair in classrooms where students were different grade levels.
“A 90 would be a ‘B’ for a senior but an ‘A’ for a freshman if we did it that way,” said Parker. “We just felt like that was going to be difficult to implement and manage.”
But this week the state decided the new ten-point scale will change for every student in every high school in the fall.
Southwest sophomore Kelsey Samuel added, “It makes it harder to fail and it’s going to be easier to get better grades.”
English Teacher Allison Markwood pointed out, it could also mean some students think they can slack off and still make a good grade.
“I think to meet that challenge, we as teachers are going to have to maintain standards of excellence that an ‘A’ means you really went above and beyond and a ‘C’ is average. I think the teachers’ grading will be adjusted to match the new scale as well.”
Parker said some people may be concerned schools are giving too much of a safety net to students with lower grades. He doesn’t believe that’s necessarily a bad thing.
Current grades that are finalized and posted will not be retroactively changed; the new scale will only apply to new grades earned in the fall.