Grading scale may be altered to help with college funding

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE – Could the way grades are calculated for students affect the amount of scholarship money they could receive for college?

That was part of a recent discussion among members of the Bullitt County Public School Board.

Robb Smith, director of secondary education for the district, has been working on proposals after hearing comments from parents and teachers about the current grading policy.

Currently, a student must have a 92-100 in class to receive an A. The scale goes down with a student receiving an F if grades are 64 or below.

Smith said one of the concerns is that if the grading scale is too aggressive, students may not get as much KEES money, the college funds supported by the Kentucky Lottery sales and given to those who continue their education in a state college.

In doing some comparisons, Smith said he looked at counties who are part of the OVEC region, as well as a few others comparable in size.

Bullitt, Grant and Franklin counties all use a similar grading scale.

In Hardin County, the range for an A is the same but in order to get a D, a student must be between 68-73. In Bullitt County, a 65-73 is considered a D.

In Nelson County, the A range is the same but a student must have at least a 70 to receive a non-failing grade.

Henry County and Eminence Independent both use a 10-point difference with 59 being a failing grade.

Oldham and Trimble counties had only three levels – 90-110 was an A; 80-89 a B and 70-79 a C. A 69 or below would be an F and there is no D range.

Smith said that expanded the range for students who would earn a C, which would not hurt them as bad on their grade-point average. In Bullitt County, that 70 would be considered a D.

Spencer County uses the 10-point difference until a student enters the D range. A D would be anything from 65-69.

What is the best for students?

Smith said he favored the 10-point range with 60 being the lowest mark a student could get to pass a class with a D.

Board member Roger Hayes said he had mixed emotions on the discussion.

With the computer access parents have to their children’s grades today, Hayes said once the grade is posted, it is posted.

His concern is taking away a teacher’s ability to help a student who is trying hard and making progress.

He was also concerned with the high school grading since that is where the scholarship ramifications occur for students and their parents.

Hayes, a former teacher and administrator, likes the 10-point ranges in the high schools and he wanted to make sure educators have a way to reward those who are making an effort in class.

Denise Allen, principal at Mount Washington Middle, said she would appreciate a change in the grading scale.

At her school, the bottom score is now 50 for students. She said a 0 on any assignment or test creates a hole that students may not be able to climb out of.

The grading scale may be a mute point in the future as the state moves toward rewarding students for mastering standards.

Terry Price, director of elementary education, said the key is getting students to master the subjects being taught. For some students, mastering the standards might take a couple of times.

To make any change to the middle and high school grading standards, the board must approve a new policy.

Superintendent Keith Davis said it might be something the board has a chance to consider at a future meeting.

The next meeting of the Bullitt County Public School Board will be on Monday, April 22, at 6 p.m. at the central office. The public is invited to attend.