New Kent schools move to 10-point grade scale, lengthen school days

NEW KENT - New Kent County Public Schools are moving to a 10-point grading scale and lengthening the school day, starting this fall.

The School Board approved the two motions Monday night, which would become effective for the 2014-15 school year.

"As of the 2012-13 school year, more than half of the school divisions in Virginia have adopted or are planning to adopt some version of a 10-point scale," said New Kent Schools Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Nate Collins, who added that it is the most prevalent grading scale used across the nation and in college admissions.

Collins, as well as a committee comprised of administrators, teachers, and school counselors, recommended that New Kent change to the 10-point scale, which implements plus and minus grades, and increases the total weighted Advanced Placement (AP) and Transferrable Dual Enrollment (DE) classes from 5.0 to 5.3.

At the elementary level, the new proposed 10-point grade scales would become:

•A = 90 and above

•B = 80-89

•C = 70-79

•D = 60-69

•F = Below 60

At the middle and high school levels (not including weighted classes), the new proposed 10-point scale would become:

•A+ = 97 and above (4.3)

•A = 93-96 (4.0)

•A- = 90-92 (3.7)

•B+ = 87-89 (3.3)

•B = 93-86 (3.0)

•B- = 80-82 (2.7)

•C+ = 77-79 (2.3)

•C = 73-76 (2.0)

•C- = 70-72 (1.7)

•D+ = 67-69 (1.3)

•D = 63-66 (1.0)

•D- = 60-62 (0.7)

•F = Below 60 (0)

High school honors-level courses will receive a 0.5 weight, while AP and DE classes will receive a 1.0 weight.

For example, if a student earned a final grade of an 86 B in World History II Honors, with the 0.5 weight, the grade would be calculated in the student's Grade Point Average (GPA) as a 3.5.

In addition to the new grading scale, the School Board also approved to extend the school day by 10 minutes.

Doing so would create additional bank time at both the elementary and secondary levels, and would exceed the Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) requirement of 990 clock hours at all schools and an additional 140 clock hours at the high school level.

Bank time can be used when schools are closed, usually for inclement weather.

An excess of bank time at the end of the school year could result in early dismissals, Collins added.

"We want to be prepared and not just meet the bare minimum for our students," he said.

Martin can be reached by phone at 804-885-0040.

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