Grade Point Average
In the Spring of 2017, discussions were held regarding how grade point averages were calculated in the Belton School District (BSD). At issue, how the very nature of the BSD grading scale does place some students at a disadvantage with students from other districts who have their GPA (Grade Point Average) calculated using a straight 4.0, 3.0, 2.0 and 1.0 point scale. The conversation evolved into the “Why?” question. The specific question… Why is it that the Belton School District scale is unique with regard to most districts in the surrounding area? A second question… Does this, in some way, provide some unnecessary degree of discouragement for students in the Belton School District?
Specifically, the comparisons are listed below…
Belton School District Grading Scale
A 95% (4.00) C 73% (2.00)
A- 90% (3.67) C- 70% (1.67)
B+ 87% (3.33) D+ 67% (1.33)
B 83% (3.00) D 63% (1.00)
B- 80% (2.67) D- 60% (0.67)
C+ 77% (2.33) F <59% (0.00)
Most Surrounding Districts' Grading Scale
A 90% (4.00)
B 80% (3.00)
C 70% (2.00)
D 60% (1.00)
F <59% (0.00)
Upon close review, one will discover the BHS student who earns an “A” but fails to achieve a 95% or better in particular class will have a GPA which is .33 points behind the student from a neighboring district who has a 90% in the same class. Granted, the “plus” on a letter grade of a “B, C or D” is rewarded with an additional .33 points and this is not factored in on a straight 4.0, 3.0, 2.0 and 1.0 scale. However, this does not apply to those who receive an “A” and therefore, does contribute to a disadvantage for our highest performing students.
Certainly, the discussion about the subjectivity of grades within schools and across schools can be argued, but the central point here is an inability to identify a strong argument to preserve the early version of the BSD grading scale. Therefore, beginning with the 2017-18 school year, the Belton School District has adopted a straight 4.0, 3.0, 2.0, and 1.0 scale for those who earn a letter of A, B, C or D. The plus and minus will continue to be recorded on the report card, but the grade point average will be calculated on the straight scale. (Note: For the students in grades 10-12, the GPA for prior years will continue to reflect the earlier method of calculation. Therefore, for these three classes… 2018, 2019 & 2020, the two systems will be merged and this will be reflected in their final GPA. A footnote to confirm this combination will be included on the student transcripts.)
For the students of Belton, we continue to press each of them to perform at their highest level and seek a system which will be an encouragement to them and not allow a grading scale to place them at any disadvantage when their scores are compared to those from another district.