To the editor:
Reducing Alexandrias dropout rate has been and continues to be a very challenging objective. Our school administrators, teachers and counselors are to be commended for their patience and tenacity (No Easy Fix for Citys Dropout Figures, April 9-15).
As you brought out in your thoughtful story, children stay in school if they are engaged and motivated. I think another factor that keeps kids in school is success. But they dont experience success when they fail their classes.
Some ACPS kids are failing classes they might otherwise pass if they were going to school in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Stafford counties, or to any of the 50 schools in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington.
This is because ACPS uses the six-point grade system, which fails students who achieve a 64 percent or less average. The above school systems have recently abandoned the six-point system and adopted the 10-point system, which fails students with averages less than 60 percent.
The 10-point system has replaced the six-point system in thousands of schools across the country. In fact, the majority of high schools identified by U.S. News&World Report as the top 100 schools in the U.S. use the 10-point system or numerical grades. If these grading systems are deemed effective by our neighboring schools and the finest high schools in the country, I see no reason why they wouldnt work well for ACPS.
Adopting the 10-point or numerical grading system would send a powerful message of encouragement to those students who teeter between passing and failing. I think teachers and counselors will agree that a students own success is the most effective way to keep him or her on track to graduation day. What a wonderful problem it would be if that line for diplomas just went on and on all afternoon!
I encourage Superintendent Sherman and the soon-to-be-elected School Board to consider adopting the 10-point system or numerical system. I would be happy to hear from concerned citizens who are in favor of ACPS adopting a new grading system.