NEW ROCHELLE, NY –Principal Reggie Richardson sent a letter earlier today to all pedagogical staff at the school disclosing plans to drastically overhaul the grading system at New Rochelle High School.
Under the plan, currently in committee, the school would move from a 0-100 grading system to an F-A system (whether to offer an A+ grade is under discussion). There would be no weighting for Honors/AP classes (under the existing plan honors grades are weighted by 1.05, AP grades are weighted by 1.10). Class rank would be eliminated.
Sources tell Talk of the Sound that the move is part of an effort undertaken by Ivy League universities to reduce differentiation in academic performance among students to increase the number of minority students accepted by the Ivy League schools. The effort is meant to head off or at least dampen an investigation by the United States Department of Justice into collusion among the schools pertaining to the acceptance of minority students.
Richardson makes no mention of this in his letter but “impact on college acceptance rates” is the top priority mentioned on Richardson’s list of priorities.
In his letter, Richardson said the work of the committee was centered around seven priorities:
- Impact on college acceptance rates
- Grades that measure the development of the whole child
- Increase student metacognitive practices
- Mastery of a given subject for future student success
- Develop framework and timeline for rollout of mastery-based grading policy
- Define a common understanding among students, teachers and community
Richardson said the committee believes “letters would be a more useful method of representing student movement towards the standards and would better position us for an eventual transition to standards based grading as opposedd to the 0-100 numerical scale that we currently employ.”
Richardson says he believes letter grading “would significantly reduce (but not eliminate) point grubbing by our students (particularly those high performing students)”.
Richardson expects a draft of the new policy to be completed soon. A full version of all of the changes being proposed will be presented at the June faculty meeting.
Faculty were asked to weigh in on whether or not to include A+ in the new letter grading system.
The full email follows:
As you know a committee of your colleagues has been hard at work developing a revised grading framework for our school. Our work was centered around seven priorities that we collectively agreed to:
1. > > Impact on college acceptance rates
2. > > Consistency
3. > > Grades that measure the development of the whole child
4. > > Increase student metacognitive practices
5. > > Mastery of a given subject for future student success
6. > > Develop framework and timeline for rollout of mastery-based grading policy
7. > > DEFINE! Common understanding among students, teachers and community
After a lot of reading, discussion and debates, we have decided that letters would be a more useful method of representing student movement towards the standards and would better position us for an eventual transition to standards based grading as opposedd to the 0-100 numerical scale that we currently employ. We also believe that a letter based gradiing scale would significantly reduce (but not eliminate) point grubbing by our students (particularly those high performing students) and would be familiar to our students coming from middle school. It is also reflective of the grading system that most colleges use.
We are nearing a decision on a draft that will be shared to the entire faculty for review but we are requesting your imput on which version of the letter scale we should use. An important question is whether the new framework should include a grade of A+. http://oregongearup.org/sites/oregongearup.org/files/research-briefs/plusminusgrading.pdf so we really need your help. https://goo.gl/forms/b6iwgVG3zA8pOtTq1 We will discuss the results at our faculty meeting on Monday.
At the June faculty meeting, we will present a full version of all of the changes being proposed (including proposed changes to ranking and weighting) by the committee for faculty feedback. We will then forward thes recommendations to the superintendent and the board for review. Thank you in advance for your help!
UPDATE: Shortly before 6 p.m. on Friday evening, Reggie Richardson responded to the uproar over this article with a follow up email to high school faculty.
Just to clarify, the grading committee has to decided to recommend moving to a letter system for the previously stated reasons. No final decisions have been made nor will be made without faculty feedback, Superintendent review and approval, and board approval. We are still engaged in the process. Thanks.