Southampton, Franklin schools not facing grade-scale changes

Published 8:33 am Wednesday, July 14, 2010

FRANKLIN—School officials in Franklin and Southampton County say they haven’t heard the same outcry from parents wanting to abandon traditional grading scales for a new 10-point scale as Isle of Wight.

“I’ve had it come up once,” said Bev Rabil, the associate director of instruction for Franklin City Schools.

Charles Turner, superintendent of Southampton County Schools, said no parents have contacted him about implementing a 10-point grading scale.

Last week, a group of parents asked the Isle of Wight County School Board to move toward a 10-point grading scale, largely for equity in college admissions and scholarships.

Those concerns were also on the minds of Virginia Beach School Board members, who voted earlier this year to adjust the division’s grading scale. When the division’s 69,000 students return in September, they’ll be operating under a new 10-point grading scale.

The School Board engaged in a public dialogue involving parents, staff, college admissions offices and the community at large before making the decision, said Kathy O’Hara, the assistant superintendent for media and communications development for Virginia Beach Schools.

“We did a lot of dialogue before we changed,” O’Hara said Monday. “What we found was the majority of parents—and indeed the majority of staff—felt that a 10-point scale was preferable.”

O’Hara said the decision hasn’t been without critics who suggest its “tantamount to lowering standards.” The school division, she said, doesn’t agree.

“We are confident that our teachers are not going to be giving away grades,” she said. “They’re going to adjust their grading practices to make sure an A is an A.”

Isle of Wight School Board members are set to discuss the division’s grading scale at their August meeting.

Legislation that would’ve required the State Board of Education to establish a uniform 10-point grading scale was introduced in this year’s General Assembly session. Lawmakers voted to continue the legislation until next year pending further study.