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Kingston Schools' switch to new grade system starts

Mary Drier

Sat, 12 Sep 2020 11:13:38 EDT

 


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With the start of the 2020 - 2021 academic year, the Kingston School District's grading system will now match the method other schools in the Thumb use.

In June, the board of education approved changing from a grading system based on grade-point averages to one based on percentages.

Under the new grading system; 40 percent of a student's grade will be used in the first 9 weeks, 40 percent in the second 9 weeks and the final exam will count as 20 percent of a student's grade, explained Superintendent Matt Drake.

Although both grading methods use the 4.0 grade scale, and the both use 40 percent from two, nine-week marking periods, and use the 20 percent on the final exam. The new grading method will shift from calculating the final grade based on grade point to using a percentage instead.

Although the change was approved two months ago, the board also approved the change of basing a student's grade on straight percentages during the August Board of Education meet.

"The change starts this year and is not retroactive," Drake said. "The change in grading will start this fall with students in seventh through twelfth grade."

Drake explained the differences in the two grading systems this way:

"Most high schools that I am aware of use a method where the final semester grade is composed of 40 percent for the first nine-week grade, 40 percent for the second nine-week grade, and 20 percent for the final exam," he explained. "The final grade percentages may look like this: 93 percent the first nine weeks, 93 percent second nine weeks and 90 percent on the final exam."

Drake went on to outline the different methods:

The math for the straight percentage grading system used by most all Thumb Schools; 93+93 (40 percent) +93+93 (40 percent) + 90 (20 percent) = 92.4% (final grade of A-minus).

"Using the same numbers, the final grade using the 4.0 scale as Kingston does would translate into 3.94."

Before the change, the district had used the old grade scale for more than 20 years.

"Using these two formulas, you can run different scenarios and see how each system impacts students. Using straight percentages, the higher the A's the more weight they carry. The lower the A's the less weight they carry," Drake said. "Using the Kingston 4.0 system, a 100 percent A counts the same as a 94 percent A when the translation to 4.0 scale is used.

"In another example, if a student earned a 98 in the first nine weeks, and 98 in the second nine weeks, and got an 86 percent on a final exam, that student would earn a 4.0 (A) on percentages. However on the 4.0 scale method Kingston used to use, they would get an A-minus," he explained. "The differences between these two methods will impact different students in different ways. They are both fair, but they are different."

The bottom line on changes is that the district's former method made it more difficult for students to get a 4.0 grade.

"It all comes down to where do you want to put more weight- the nine weeks of instructions or on the final exam?" Drake said.

The new grading system will be easier for students and parents to understand.

* The board also approved continued participation in the National School Lunch Program for the 2020-21 school year. The district also will participate in the Community Eligibility Provisions (CEP) program that will provide free breakfast and free lunch to all students.

* And, there was the first reading of the policy revisions done by NEOLA (Northeast Ohio Learning Associates) which is designed to help school districts stay abreast of changing regulations and laws.


   

 

 

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