Putting Grades in Their Proper Place

By Jay Mathews
Thursday, January 4, 2007

Dear Extra Credit:

I am not a perfectionist parent who insists on straight A's or who gets bent out of shape over a B-plus versus an A, but the following discrepancy does bother me: Why is it that Fairfax County requires 94 percent for an A, while in Falls Church, Montgomery County and other surrounding school systems, 90 percent is an A?

To make matters worse, the number grade gets rounded off to a letter grade and then is recalculated back into a number for the GPA. Thus the kid who gets 93 percent gets a B-plus, which equals a 3.5 GPA, and the kid with 94 gets an A, which equals a 4.0 GPA.

This is illogical and unfair -- why not do away with letter grades and simply put the 93 on the report card and calculate the GPA from there? If we expect to teach our students logic and fairness, we must evaluate them in a logical and fair manner.

Fairfax County is competitive enough without adding this extra stress.

Suzanne S. Summers


This is one of the great mysteries of schooling in the D.C. area -- in all of America, for that matter. We write a great deal in The Post about standardized test scores but almost never address the issue that concerns students and parents much more: grades on report cards.

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