by Brielle Bush
The administration of Northwest Yeshiva High School (NYHS) is considering changing the grading scale for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.
“We’re looking at making our approach much more transparent and changing our grading scale to match the grading scales of similar schools,” said Assistant Head of School Malka Popper.
“The new grading scale would ideally be a traditional standard grading scale which is a letter grading scale that goes A through F,” said College Counselor Erich Schweikher.
NYHS currently operates on a different 4.0 scale than most schools in the area. At NYHS a ninety percent is a 3.5, whereas at other schools like Mercer Island High School it is a 3.7. Because of this, students feel that the NYHS grading scale harms them, especially when applying to college.
“I want the grading system to change because it doesn’t accurately represent the grades we’re getting,” says Al Benoliel, a junior at NYHS.
“Colleges find it difficult to read our transcript because they’re not used to transcripts without letter grades. This could be a disadvantage to the student [at NYHS],” said Schweikher.
While the modified grading scale would not necessarily change students’ grades, it would boost their Grade Point Averages (GPA). This would allow colleges to accurately compare the grades of NYHS students to the students at other competitive schools in the area.
“The big question is whether there’s a way to go back and retroactively change the system and turn students’ grades into letter grades so that it would turn into a new GPA,” said Schweikher.
Schweikher continued saying rising seniors are the first priority, so their transcripts will be updated before they apply to college in the fall and ideally the new grading scale will be in place for the incoming freshman class.
Schweikher also says the administration is looking into other changes they might make in the NYHS grading system: “We’re looking at whether or not we would do an additional honors credit.” This would raise the grades for students that take these honors classes, allowing students to receive a grade above a 4.0.
Schweikher questioned this approach however, wondering if NYHS honors classes are worthy of the honors credit. Furthermore he added, “does it matter if there’s a boost or does putting honors next to the course do enough to show that the student is taking on additional responsibility?”
Popper concludes that the school’s priority is setting its students up for success and if changing the grading system will do this, the administration will continue to look into it. “An NYHS education should have no barriers towards an excellent trajectory academically but it should be much much more than just a grade on a report card,” said Popper.
Schweikher concludes by saying “nothing’s set in stone other than it’s agreed upon that the standard grading scale, the letter grading scale, is something we really want to do.”