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Students win in battle of grading equality

On Saturday, January 4, it was announced that after much protest and petition regarding the decision to only change freshmen and not the whole school to the 10-point grading scale, Wake County and other NC counties finally may be giving in to pressure.

Wake residents may recall in October when school board officials revealed the plan to switch the grading scale to 10 points from the current 7 points. Officials stated that the implementation process would be gradual and would only apply to freshmen the first year. Therefore, sophomores, juniors, and seniors would not be affected.

But this decision was met with complaints and negative feedback. Amongst the complaints was the fact that many classes have students from different grade levels, so teachers would be have to potentially give the same numerical grade to a freshman and a sophomore, but give different letter grades. To many, this was morally and judiciously incorrect.

As a result, schools across North Carolina sent in letters, petitions, emails, and editorials calling for an immediate change for all grade levels, and not a gradual, year-by-year change as originally intended by North Carolina. In fact, The Mycenaean published an editorial in the December issue regarding this exact problem.

Finally, after state officials had heard enough, they announced on Saturday that they would reconsider their original decision and weigh the benefits of switching everyone next year instead. The meetings began Wednesday and on Thursday the county took a vote, ultimately deciding to switch all students to the new 10-point grading scale next year.

Another big issue was whether or not the scale would apply to grades received in prior years. However, the state decided that the change will not be applied retroactively to grades from this school year or to prior years. However, state officials did say they want future transcripts to list both numerical scores and letter grades.

The other issue was whether or not the other grade levels, excluding freshmen, would be forced to comply with the new class credits. The freshmen will have to go by a 4 (academic), 4.5 (honors), and 5 (AP) point credit system whereas the other grade levels will stay at the current 4, 5, and 6 point credits.

Despite the decision to reverse the original plan of implementation, the state school board is still achieving what they set out to achieve: Switching to the grading scale that the vast majority of states have been using for years. The thought is that this will make the applications process more standard. Also, other benefits range from increased opportunity to make higher grades to a lower drop-out and failing rate.

The whole saga, which has been years in the making although only largely publicized in recent months, is finally coming to an end. It has also become a reminder to parents and students that their voice matters. Without all of the petitions, editorials, letters, emails, calls, and protests, Wake County would have stuck with their decision and moved on. However, the people voiced their opinions, and the end result is a situation in which almost everyone wins.

Regarding students, now all pupils, no matter what grade, will receive their grades based off of the same scale as all their peers. Parents will rest easy knowing that their students will have the same opportunity as other students, or in some cases, a younger sibling who might just be a freshman next year. Even the county wins, because the process is still being implemented, and now it is being implemented even quicker than planned.

Next year’s senior class was thrilled to hear about the reverse of plan.

“I’m really excited that they decided to change it for everyone,” said Cole Chance, junior. “That means I’ll have a lot more room to make an A or B senior year, and I won’t have to work for a different number grade than my peers.

Another junior, Harry Freeman, had similar feedback: “I think they made the right call. There are going to be lots of people happy when it is their turn to enjoy the new scale. I know that as a senior who will probably be very ready to graduate, I will thoroughly enjoy having 10 points for an A and not 7 points. It’s just great.”

Wake County will have big things to look forward to in 2015, and thanks to the help of students, parents and teachers, the new change will apply to everyone. Perhaps there is such thing as an “everybody wins” situation in schools.

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