Late Friday afternoon, the School District of Lee County sent a note to parents of kids in middle and high schools to let them know the district is changing its grading measures.
This new scoring system is designed to help kids recover if they happen to fall behind. But some wonder if it’s fair.
Lee County Schools instituted the new points system over the summer yet most parents didn’t hear about it until today if they did hear about it at all. And on the question of fairness, the district believes the system is more than fair and gives kids a fighting chance to recover from a bad grade.
Each school year, SDLC students put in hundreds of hours worth of work to make the grade. But, this school year in Lee County Schools, the grade may look a bit different.
The system is known as “quality points.” Instead of seeing a number on your child’s report card, now you’ll only see a letter. For example, any grade from 90 to 100 is an “A,” any grade from 80 to 89 is a “B” and so on.
District staff believes this system will benefit those students who may have fallen behind by helping them recover at a quicker rate.
Take a middle school student, for example, we’ll call her “Jenny.” First, we look at her grades under the old system. The scores from each of the four quarters would be averaged. In that case, she’d earn a 69% for the year, which would be a “D.”
But, under the quality points system, each of those percentages only becomes a letter grade. Each letter grade earns “Jeeny” a certain number of points. Each of those points is then multiplied by 25% or .25. Once you ad those up, Jenny will get a 2, which is a “C” on the quality points scale.
This is a grade higher than her score would’ve been under the old system.
The school district says the scoring system will not impact a student’s GPA. And for parents, you’d still like to see your child’s specific percentage, you can head to the parent portal.
Middle and high school grades weighed slightly differently.
The district was also able to answer these questions for us:
Q: I understand from watching the meeting the system was implemented because it’s recommended by DOE and because it helps students recover who otherwise would not be in a position to easily. Any other reasons the system was implemented or is that a good and fair summary? A: It also aligns with the previous method of high school grading for Biology, Algebra, Geometry and US History, and it aligns the District with many other school districts, making transfers from district to district simpler.
Q: Can you also confirm it’s been in place since the start of the school year? Yes.
Beyond the notifications on Facebook last week, why were parents not alerted to the change earlier? A: There were public hearings before the School Board July 27 and August 17. The notifications are coming now since the change is just now visible.
Q: Will GPAs change? How? A: No.
Q: What change will parents notice on report cards? how can they see the actual percent if they want? A: Report cards will show the letter grade. Percentages are available in every parent’s FOCUS account.
Q: My understanding is that without plus and minuses, a score of 91 and 100, for example, both receive an A and its corresponding number of points. Is there concern this evens kids out too much, especially with college admissions? A: No. Pluses and minuses are not part of our grading system. GPA’s are still calculated in the same manner as before, so students who take advanced classes will continue to earn the extra credit those courses provide. Transcripts sent to colleges only show the full letter grade so this does not change that at all.
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