Local News

Numbers Mean More Than Letters For Wake County Students

Posted August 12, 2003

— Wake County kids are back in school and for many of them, numbers will mean more than letters.

Instead of getting letter grades, students will receive numerical grades ranging from 1 to 4 with 4 being the highest score. A four means the student has mastered the learning material and can apply critical thinking skills to it.

Under the standards-based system, a four means the student has mastered the learning material and can apply critical thinking skills to it. Many parents think that should equate to an A, but that is not the case.

"I look at threes as As. A three is an A. You can master this objective. Fours are supposed to show I can go beyond my grade level. I have a deeper understanding," teacher Melissa Bunn said.

Julie Stevens' son, Jeffrey, has been graded on the new scale for two years. She said many parents who were skeptical at first are now sold on it.

"There are kinks to be worked out, but the children will benefit by being graded on what they know instead of what they do," she said.

Morrisville Elementary School is one of five schools that has started using the new numerical grading system with the start of the school year. Nineteen other Wake County schools will use the system later in the year.

Wake County is not alone in using numbers as grades. The biggest system to use the scale is Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools. Two smaller districts on the coast also use numbers instead of letter grades.

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