Board of Education to Review Change in Grading System
If passed, Cedar Grove students will receive number grades instead of letter grades on their report cards.
The Cedar Grove Board of Education will revisit the issue of a new grading system for September, at its next board meeting to be held later this month.
If passed, schools throughout the district will move from an alpha, or letter scale, to a numeric grading scale. This means parents may be seeing a number grade on student report cards instead of a letter grade.
However, if passed, the district would keep the traditional 4.0 grade point average (GPA) scale instead of changing to a 100-point grade point scale used in many schools throughout New York.
“Instead of giving out A's and B's the students would receive a numeric grade,” said Cedar Grove High School Principal Michael Fetherman. “The primary advantage is to reward the students for doing the quality of work for each percentage.”
The higher quality point reflects the higher achievement, he said.
The current system, which uses the 4.0 GPA scale, provides quality points based on each letter grade. This means that students who earned a 97 or a 100 would receive the same number of quality points toward their GPA as a student who earned a 92.
The new system, based on numeric grades, would give students with higher grades more quality points towards their GPA. Students will receive more quality points toward their GPA for honors and advanced placement classes.
The township’s High School Committee also considered the 100-point GPA scale used in New York, where instead of a weighted 4.0 GPA, the GPA was out of 100. This means that if a student earned a 95, then their GPA is a 95. If a student earned a 100, then their GPA is a 100.
“The scale we are using is more traditional,” said Fetherman. “Colleges use a 4.0 quality point scale where 4.0 is an A, 3.0 is a B and 2.0 is a C. The committee looked at this newer, more modern system of the 100-point scale and we decided we would rather stay with the more traditional 4.0 scale.”
"That's the plan I liked from the beginning," said Cedar Grove Board of Education President Frank Mandala Jr., in a previous interview. "I think people would be converting it to the GPA anyway."
The issue, which has been in discussion for several years, will go to the board of education for a vote and if passed will be implemented for the beginning of the upcoming school year.
“The primary reason behind the change was to more accurately reflect the grades that were earned by the students,” said Fetherman. “We are looking for a more accurate reflection of student achievement and we believe this new system will do a better job of that.”
In addition to the new grading scale, a minimum passing grade of 65 will also be implemented in September. Previously, students needed a 60 to pass a class.
“We recognize that by changing the system its not going to automatically change student achievement,” said Fetherman. “You don't improve student achievement by changing your grade system, it has to be a philosophy thats packaged together with the right attitude. How hard we worked on this grade system is how hard we will work on improving teacher skills and coursework.”