Schools could add grading systemPark and Woodbury high school students, and those at East Ridge High School in 2009, will have a new way of making the grade.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
Park and Woodbury high school students, and those at East Ridge High School in 2009, will have a new way of making the grade.
Linda Plante, Woodbury principal, and Efe Agbamu, Park principal, presided at a parent meeting April 15 in Woodbury to discuss adding a parallel grading system that rewards students who take rigorous honors and advanced placement classes.
In addition to the standard “grade point average,” the dual track will add a “multiplier” for AP classes. Students can choose which grading system they want on transcripts submitted for college admission.
Now, some students don’t take AP classes fearing they might get a lower grade than “A’s” they can achieve in traditional classes. The result is high GPAs, but students are missing a chance to take harder classes that are more like those they will encounter in college.
Plante, Agbamu and Aaron Harper, East Ridge principal, are asking for a dual track that offers an incentive to take classes that offer more complexity to the subject matter that’s presented.
“The existing system is putting our students at a disservice,” Plante said.
She added that the parallel system will help students get accepted to college and have more access to scholarships.
There is no national standard for grading systems that reward students who take advanced classes, Plante said. Some districts add additional points for students who take more than five AP classes.
District 833 principals are proposing to offer additional points for all non-traditional classes.
It will be a challenge to gear up the new system for this fall, but Plante and Agbamu are optimistic.
The new multiplier will also be added retroactively to current high school student transcripts. If a student is a senior, he or she will get additional points for advanced classes they have already taken.
Woodbury has an advanced placement system in place as does Park but Agbamu has been given the go-ahead to begin a two-year process to offer International Baccalaureate classes.
Harper is exploring offering classes that prepare students for engineering degrees, according to Plante.
Another reason to offer incentives for students to take advanced classes is to encourage students to sign up who would otherwise avoid the experience.
“If a child takes just one class, it changes the way they look at learning,” Agbamu said. “Kids who are afraid can be encouraged.”
Most advanced classes are offered to juniors and seniors, Plante said.
Judy Spooner can be reached at email@example.com.