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Grading scale in schools to change for students next fall

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 SHEPHERDSVILLE – Beginning next school year, some students will have a different grading scale to follow.

The Bullitt County Public School Board approved the first reading of a policy change for middle and high students.

The change would be in the scale on how grades are assigned with the ultimate goal providing students with opportunities to earn more money for college.

After listening to the proposal during its workshop session, the school board was in agreement to the changes presented at the April meeting.

Robb Smith, director of secondary education, said that there would be a 10-point interval at the high and middle school levels under the new plan.

A more traditional grading system endorsed is probably more familiar to parents and grandparents.

An A would be 90-100 with a B being given for 80-89. A score of 70-79 would earn a student a C with a D being given for 60-69.

Currently, a 65 is the lowest passing grade.

Superintendent Keith Davis said that the change is all about college funds. With higher grades comes more KEES money, which is generated by the Kentucky Lottery proceeds.

Board member Darrell Coleman said that his concern is that is sends a message that the district is lowering its standards.

“You get what you expect out of students,” said Coleman, a retired teacher.

If the failing mark is lowered to 60, he predicted that would be what teachers will get out of some students.

Board member Roger Hayes, who was also a teacher and administrator, understood the concern over the message but he felt he would use the new grading scale and still not lower the standards of his classroom.

In the workshop, Hayes said that he was concerned that teachers didn’t have a way to reward the student who is struggling but it giving it full effort and it making progress.

With this, he hoped that might help.

Davis said the standards are not going to be lowered but he understands Coleman’s concern about the message.

One issue not part of the policy change is a program utilized at Mount Washington Middle. Instead of 0 being the score for assignments not done, the lowest mark given is a 50.

At the workshop, principal Denise Allen said that it is very difficult for a student to over a single 0 on his or her assignments.

Board member Lorraine McLaughlin agreed with the point. 

But Davis said that is an issue with setting a new low score on tests or assignments.

Coleman said it was important to send a unified message on the grading scale and that is why he would vote in favor of it.

A final vote will be taken at the May meeting.

Other counties have various policies on grading scales. In Oldham County, for example, there is no D. A failing score is less than 70. But Smith said that is a way to have high standards but to also drive up grade point averages and that helps in the race for scholarships and KEES funds.