School Board Considers New Grade Scale
February 1, 2023
Editor’s Note: This piece was written prior to the February 2023 Southern York County school board meeting. Originally, a factual error occurred in which the text stated the grading scale had already been approved, when it in fact had not. Our staff apologizes for the error and the delay in the publishing of this article.
While a new grading scale and GPA adjustment may come as a sudden surprise to students, they have been in the works for the past six years.
Although the new change has just been presented to the school board this past month, many people were involved in the creation of the new scale, including students, according to Principal Kevin Molin.
“It began with the principal’s advisory, which is a group of parents that meet with me once a month,” said Molin. “Then we took a look into what other high schools in the area are doing,.. [and] how our GPA matched up against colleges…we took it to faculty and faculty got a chance to digest it. We took it to students. Students got a chance to digest it, and we came to an agreement about [the new grading scale].”Copy of Proposed Weighted_UnWeighted GPA Scale - Google Sheets
To fully grasp the new GPA adjustments, it is important to understand that courses are weighted based on their degree of difficulty, this impacts GPA.
Average-level classes are weighted at a 1.0, higher difficulty classes are weighted at a 1.1, advanced courses weigh a 1.2, and AP courses weigh a 1.3. This affects a student’s weighted GPA, not unweighted GPA.
College GPAs are ranked on a scale from 0.0-4.0. However, at Susquehannock, a student taking high courses can earn up to a 4.25. On a college application, a 4.25, while appearing higher, is equivalent to a 4.0.
Course weights would change to align with the new scale.
Junior Grace Hall sees pros and cons to the new system.
“The GPA weight scale positively affects the majority, but negatively affects the top 5%,” Hall said. “I feel like it’s not fair to take away a well-deserved reward from people who have worked so hard for it, just so you can…take away pressure from the student body.”
GPA is not the only change proposed. Grades would operate on a 10-point grading scale.
An A will range numerically from 90-100 percent, a B will range from 80-89 percent, a C will range from 70-79 percent, a D will range from 60-69 percent, and an F will range from 0-59 percent.
The proposed 10-point grading scale attempts to create a more accurate depiction of a student’s effort with an A letter grade ranging from a 90-100% as opposed to 92-100%.
This letter grade change should have mental health benefits for students as well.2GPA Scale - Google Sheets
Pew Research found that seven-in-ten students see development of anxiety and depression in their peers since many students view their self-worth and intelligence as a reflection of a letter in the alphabet.
A 2023 article published by River Cross Therapy found that academic pressure contributes to feelings of fatigue, tiredness, irritability, and stress. 45% of students feel stress on a daily basis, and 61% of all students reported experiencing stress over earning satisfactory grades.
The new scale seeks to alleviate some of this pressure by encouraging students to pick classes that coincide with their interests rather than prestige or weight.
Teacher J.C. Lewis is ecstatic about how the new grading system can change how students will pick classes.
“…[it is] an effort to take some of the pressure off students and in turn [it allows] students to schedule more classes they want to schedule versus worrying about scheduling classes for the weight and the grade,” Lewis said.
The goal of the proposed grading scale and weight changes is to have students pick classes they are actually interested in where they are more likely to pick up on new material, discover a career path, complete assignments on time, and hold on to information long-term.