Community — 12 June 2009

T.C. Williams students presented some of the findings of their research about grading policy to the School Board at its June 4 meeting; the presentation was later accompanied by Superintendent Morton Shermans recommended changes to grading policy at the high school.

The students addressed the history of grading in the U.S. and within Alexandria schools, elaborated on in-school research and survey results and presented pros and cons associated with a switch from the current six-point scale to a 10-point scale.

The proposed changes to the current grading scale one where an A is 94 and above include moving to a pure 10-point scale, numerical grades being added to report cards and additional weighting for AP and honors courses. This push for change came after surrounding school districts switched to the 10-point model earlier this year.

The proposal is one of practicality and ideology but we concluded with the students, and I with the parents, that there is an issue of a level playing field with our neighbors, Sherman said.
The 10-point scale is first of two steps addressing student assessment, Sherman said, with the second being a more in-depth examination of what grades mean in the classroom and if they are reflective of what a student has really learned in class.

The School Board is planning to vote on the matter at its next meeting on June 18.

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