The traditional grading scale Wilmot Union High School uses to measure and report on student learning can be dated back to the late 1800’s. At the time, college and universities were attempting to classify students into specific levels of performance. Prior to the 100 percent scale experiment, other universities investigated the use of the 4.0 scale. Their efforts resulted in the historical and traditional use of both scales. The first is used to measure student learning during a specific reporting term or semester, while the second is used to compare students against their peers and is reported as the Grade Point Average (GPA).  All of the researchers agree the 0-100 grading scale is weighted for failure, i.e. 0-59 is an F, while 60-100 is passing. The scale provides a greater opportunity for failure than success. Below you find an activity that offers alternatives to the present scale and demonstrates the differences that exist in student grades by simply changing the scale.

 

 

Equal Difference Scales

 

Scores

A).101-Point Scale

B).5-Point Scale

C).50-Point Scale

 

95

90-100 (A)

4

95

 

85

80-89   (B)

3

85

 

75

70-79   (C)

2

75

 

65

60-69   (D)

1

65

 

0

<60       (F)

0

50

Mean

64 (D)

2 (C)

74 (C)

Median

75 (C)

2 (C)

75 (C)

 

The above three scales measure the learning of one student. You see that how the student’s performance is calculated varies based on the measurement scale and whether the mean or the median was used. The scales above are as follows (letters correspond to the scale):

A). Traditional 101 point scale. WUHS scale.

B). Scale from 0-4, which reflects our GPA scale.

C). 50 point scale that has the lowest grade possible being a 50, which eliminates the disproportionality.

Our goal is to create a grading scale and system that supports high expectations, measures learning fairly and equitably, and provides timely feedback to students, teachers, and parents. Please provide us feedback on the above activity, our present grading scale, and/or the above grading scales. In addition, I would encourage you to do a little research yourself. Google is a great tool for additional information.