PRC considers going to 10 point grading scale

Published 6:02 pm Friday, August 8, 2008

Schools across and around Mississippi are switching to a 10 point grading scale and that change is apparently putting children in the Pearl River County School District at a disadvantage for scholarships, if it doesn’t follow suit.

District Athletic Director Doug Smith asked the school board at its Thursday evening meeting to consider adopting the scale, not just for the sake of students who play sports, but for those wishing to attend college.

Superintendent Dennis Penton said that while most teachers were not in favor of going to a 10 point grading scale, they did indicate a willingness to adjust the current scale, which has the name “standard grading scale,” with 70 needed for a passing score, with D 70-74, C 75-84, B 85-94 and A 95-100.

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Mississippi currently does not have a state-wide standardized grading scale, Smith said. The 10 point grading scale used in Alabama allows a student with a 92 grade point average to have a GPA of 4.0, while a student at PRC with the same grade will have a 3.0 GPA.

This puts students at a disadvantage for scholarships, or even attending the college they want to attend, Smith said. Picayune Municipal Separate School District is using the 10 point grading scale and the Poplarville school district’s administration is going to present the same scale to that districts’s board. That puts even more pressure on the PRC board to consider it, he said.

“I think it would be something that you would want to look in to,” Smith said.

The change would benefit not only football players, but also scholars. The difference in GPA could mean the difference in a college-bound student attending USM or Harvard, Smith said.

“If they got a chance to go to Harvard, they ought to go to Harvard,” Smith said.

High school principal Loren Harris said he is for the change, especially with students moving between schools within the county.

Even though a 10-point scale was presented, Smith, Harris and Penton all suggested the lowest passing grade should be in the mid to high 60s.

“I in no way support 60 as a passing grade,” Penton said.

Penton said there is concern from teachers that the new grading scale will lower the students’ standards. He recommended polling the teachers, and possibly the parents, to see what public opinion on the matter is. That opinion won’t have to be a main factor of their decision.

“You’re not asking them for a vote, you’re asking them for input,” Penton said.

The board asked Penton to get the input of the teachers and parents. The superintendent said he will ask the teachers for their opinion directly, while parents will have an opportunity to voice their opinion on the school district’s website and through flyers. The information gathered will be presented to the board at the next meeting.

Concern about the shortfall discussed at the recent Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday was reiterated to the school board. Penton asked the board to meet with the supervisors so they can discuss the matter. The board agreed and set a date for the meeting for Sept. 15, between 5 and 6 p.m.

Penton announced that all bus drivers in the district have recently become certified in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

“We are very proud of our drivers taking the initiative to become CRP trained,” Penton said.

Smith said all members of the athletic staff also renewed their CPR certification.

An executive session was held by the board to discuss personnel and student matters. All of those matters were approved but information about those matters is protected by the privacy act.

In other business the board;

— Announced that the purchase of St. Michael’s campus by the school district is complete. Penton said most needed repairs are superficial and hopes to have programs at that campus by next year.

— Approved raising the mileage rate from 40 cents per mile to 50 cents per mile. The national average is about 58 cents per mile, Penton said.

The next meetin is at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 4.