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G-ASD board to vote on whether to change grading system

February 02, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — Greencastle-Antrim School District has had the same grading system for more than 10 years, but at tonight's meeting the school board will vote on whether to make changes to how student performance is measured in the third through 12th grades.

A committee of teachers and administrators reviewed the current grading system for three months last fall.

Bob Crider, the school district's director of educational operations, presented the committee's recommendations to the board at its Jan. 20 meeting.

"The big difference is the plus and minuses for sixth through 12th grade. They did not have a plus and minus system, and the committees' recommendation is that we add that part,"  Crider said.

The proposed grading system would replace the current A, B, C, D and F grades with a system using A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D- and F.

Crider said the committee also recommended leaving an A at 92 percent.

The plus and minus component was well received by the board.

Several board members, including G. William Thorne and Eric Holtzman, were concerned that the current grading system created a disadvantage for Greencastle-Antrim students when they competed for admission into college.

Holtzman said keeping an A at 92 percent was unfair and it should be lowered to 90 percent.

"Are we giving our students a disadvantage because we have a harder grading scale?" Holtzman said.

Board member Paul Politis didn't see a need to lower the A to 90 percent.

"There seems to be a race to the bottom," said Politis. "I don't see any reason to change anything."

Crider said he is not opposed to lowering an A to 90 percent.

"I just think that they need to continue to think about two things — are we setting high standards for our students in Greencastle, and are our students on a level playing field?" he said.

Historically, most of G-A students get their first choice of college, tech school and career opportunity, Crider said.

"We also award close to a million dollars in scholarships each year — many of those are based on GPA or class rank. So, I believe that the system that is in place works," Crider said.

Tonight's meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Greencastle-Antrim Middle School library.

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