Mt. Vernon Register-News

May 14, 2014

MVTHS may change grading

By TRAVIS MORSE travis.morse@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — Mt. Vernon Township High School may introduce a new grading scale that would bring the district more in line with other high schools in the region.

The measure involves changing the district’s current “modified” grading scale to the more traditional scale where a score of 90 to 100 equals an A grade. With the current MVTHS scale, a score of 92 to 100 equals an A.

“Moving to a traditional grade makes sense,” said Principal Wes Olson in a written statement. “It will align our practices with comparable schools in Southern Illinois and the Metro East area.”

Olson added the traditional scale will also help “level the playing field” for college bound students who are competing for post-secondary admissions and financial aid.

The proposal to change the district’s grading scale was discussed Tuesday at a meeting of the MVTHS Policy Committee.

At that time, Olson brought forth a recommendation from the Curriculum Committee to modify the scale.

Since the beginning of the year, faculty have been investigating this issue and have reached a consensus that the change is warranted, Olson said.

“It’s gone through our proper channels,” Olson said. “The teachers were

overwhelmingly in favor of moving to a more traditional scale.”

As part of the investigation, MVTHS officials conducted a survey of 19 area schools in Southern Illinois and the Metro East area. Survey participants included schools from the Southwestern Conference, Mississippi Valley Conference and South Seven Conference.

The results indicate about 70 percent of the schools surveyed have the traditional grade scale, Olson said.

“If that’s the standard, we want to do what’s in the best interest of our students,” Olson said.

The grading scale initiative was prompted by “numerous inquiries” from family members, students and faculty about the origin of the MVTHS scale.

Olson said school officials have been unable to determine when the district adopted the modified scale.

“One could presume that several decades ago the district believed raising the grade scale would be seen as a sign of raising the level of academic rigor,” Olson said in the statement. “Regardless, we now operate in an educational environment where we have multiple measures of student learning.”

The current MVTHS grade scale is: A = 92-100, B = 83-91, C = 74-82, D = 65-73, and E = 64 and below.

The traditional scale is: A = 90-100, B = 80-89, C = 70-79, D = 60-69, E = 59 and below.

Superintendent Michael Smith said changing the grade scale should have a positive effect.

“We’re really excited to present that to the board,” Smith said. “(It’s) a more standardized grading scale.”

The grading scale change will have to be approved by the full MVTHS Board of Education before it goes into effect. The next school board meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday.