YOUR VIEWS | Level the Grade

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To the editor:

The high dropout rate among Alexandrias students is quite a shock. I have two children at T.C. Williams (ninth grade and 11th grade) and they are both really enjoying their high school years. It is a shame to me that such a great number of students are missing out on the potential richness of the high school experience.

I know that the ACPS superintendent is very concerned about this, and I know that programs are in place to address the needs of children who might consider dropping out. Still, I think more needs to be done. Specifically, ACPS needs to consider changing its grading policy, which will allow at least a fraction of students to pass their courses instead of face the discouragement of failing marks.

I would not suggest this just to improve the numbers. That would not help anyone. Rather, ACPS should change its grading policy to be consistent with the grading policies of all the other area school districts in Northern Virginia. Its just not fair that ACPS kids get failing grades while kids a couple of miles away are passing for the same level of achievement.

Changing the ACPS grade policy would also encourage children to take on a more rigorous course load and would level the playing field when our kids apply to colleges. If a B-plus student at T.C. Williams has done the same work as an A student at Wakefield or West Potomac, why should our student be at a disadvantage because of our grading scale?

Chris Karlsen
Alexandria

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