A number of reasons were given for the change. For example, the neighboring states of Georgia and North Carolina have made the transition to a 10-point scale, and most colleges and universities already use a 10-point scale. Deputy Superintendent Julie Fowler says, “It comes down to one word: fairness. We wanted all students to have a fair opportunity for admissions and scholarship.”
While the Board of Education made this major decision, individual school districts are making the decisions on how to implement the change. Does a teacher give the same assessments but use the new scale, resulting in higher grades for students? Or do teachers adjust assessments so that student results remain similar to what they were on a 7-point scale? Fowler held a statewide online faculty meeting recently to discuss the changes and these questions. While it is likely that some students will have improved grades, she recommends that the rigor of the courses be maintained. In other words, there should continue to be approximately the same number of A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s, and F’s. To do that, teachers will have to adjust their assessments to fit the new grade scale. The method of doing this will vary among courses and teachers.
The state decision-making discussion happened quite quickly and right at the end of the school year, leaving us with little time to respond. As a private school, we are free to do as we deem best for our families. The BJA administration and secondary department heads and faculty have discussed this change over the past few weeks. For the benefit of students who are transferring in or out of BJA and for graduates entering college, we have made the decision to follow the state’s lead to adopt the 10-point scale for grades 7 through 12 beginning this fall. Other scales which are broader than the 10-point scale may continue to be used as is currently the case; however, the 10-point scale will replace the 7-point scale as the primary grade scale. Department heads and secondary administrators are working with the teachers in each department to make the appropriate changes.
We felt it important to make the decision at the secondary level before considering what to do at the elementary level. Each district in the state is making an independent decision about the elementary grade scale. Greenville County School administrators recommended this week that second grade and above move to the 10-point scale; a school board vote will take place later this month. At BJA, we are considering whether we should migrate now to a 10-point scale at the elementary level so that we are using the same scale throughout the school or if we should wait a year, allowing the dust to settle, and reconsider it next year. We will be making this decision in the near future.
As always, we covet your prayers as we seek to make wise decisions that enable our students and families to receive the best Christian education possible.