A, B, C: Lawmakers push back change to grading scale

Posted March 31, 2015

— A proposal that would keep school grades on a more generous scale for the next two years is headed for the Senate after winning quick approval from the House Tuesday.

Under the 2013 law that required all schools to receive letter grades, the first year was to be calculated on a 15-point scale. Scores 85 and above would be As, 70 to 84 would be a B and so on.

The grades are calculated using overall student testing performance at 80 percent and student improvement at 20 percent, a ratio many in the education community say should be closer to 50-50.

That scale was set to tighten to a 10-point range for the current 2014-15 school year – that is, an A would be 90 and above, B would be 80-89 and so on.

Even under the more generous scale, 29 percent of the state's public schools earned a D or an F for 2013-14. Under a tighter scale, that number would almost certainly rise.

House Bill 358 would delay the tightening of the grading scale until the 2016-17 school year.

Speaking to the House Education K-12 committee Tuesday morning, sponsor Rep. Jeff Elmore, R-Wilkes, said it would provide a three-year period using the same scale.

"For us to get consistent data in this time period, where you’re comparing apples to apples," Elmore said, "a switch in the scale itself will not give us the numbers we need to compare the performance of our schools."

Co-sponsor Rep. Linda Johnson, R-Cabarrus, asked committee Chairman Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, to expedite the bill.

"We’d like to get it out this week so that it can be finished before our break," Johnson said.

Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, asked whether another bill to adjust the calculation ratio would be forthcoming. Johnson said House and Senate leaders had discussed it and had agreed to review the data at the end of the three-year period.

Rep. Skip Stam, R-Wake, said he would prefer that each school received two grades – one for performance and one for improvement – rather than combining them.

"I like mashed potatoes and gravy and I like Jell-O, but I don't like my Jell-O mixed up in my mashed potatoes and gravy," Stam said.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Sammy Macloud Mar 31, 2015
    user avatar

    a FIFTEEN point scale......way to dumb them down even further. All through school and my 1st degree I was on a 10 pt scale, then 2nd degree a 7 point scale....a 15 pt scale is just asking for stupid.......

    And since someone says its SCHOOL not student grading..the SAME comments hold. If the school can't make the grade LOWER the grade needed....yea, that's real smart

  • Roy Hinkley Mar 31, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    That's not what is being discussed in this article.

    This is about how the schools are assigned letter grades, not how students are assigned letter grades.

  • Angie Cox Mar 31, 2015
    user avatar

    this is just sickening! challenge them please! keep it 93-100 A. I did it and my kids did it. why make these kids even lazier than they already are for crying out loud!

  • Kate Buchanan Mar 31, 2015
    user avatar

    Sooo... Rather than make the schools better, they're just going to keep the grading scale more generous so it LOOKS better. A+, North Carolina.

  • Clovis Sangrail Mar 31, 2015
    user avatar

    Scores 85 and above would be A's, 70 to 84 would be a B and so on.Yikes!

    Even under the more generous scale, 29 percent of the state's public schools earned a D or an F for 2013-14.

    Even more yikes!