February 21, 2018

History Department alters grading scale, impacting all social science classes

Michael Todd

Online News Editor

Mira Costa’s History Department announced its decision to alter its grading scale on Jan. 19 in order to encourage more students to take Social Science classes at Costa during the school year instead of attaining the credits at an outside institution.

The grading scale change applies to grades this semester, but will not be applied to past semesters. Students must earn a 78% or higher to receive an “A”; after that, each 10% drop correlates to one lower letter grade, with the minimum percentage for a passing grade (“D”) set at 48%.

“The increase in students taking summer school history, essentially purchasing ‘A’ grades, has impacted the integrity of the Mira Costa transcript,” English teacher Shawn Chen said. “The [new grading scale] allows teachers to maintain the integrity of their grading procedures [and] students will continue to be assessed based on mastery of the material.”

As a result of the large amount of students receiving credits for Social Science courses at outside institutions, such as MBX Summer School and Halstrom Academy, the History Department decided to alter the grading scale, History Department Co-Chair Ian Uhalt said. The new grading scale will affect all Costa Social Science classes available to students during the school year, including United States History, Government, Economics and AP European History.

As a result of the large amount of students receiving credits for Social Science courses at outside institutions, such as MBX Summer School and Halstrom Academy, the History Department decided to alter the grading scale, History Department Co-Chair Ian Uhalt said.”

The History department used data from the 2017 summer grades as a baseline to determine the new policy, Uhalt said. He stated that the data showed 96% of students who took Social Science courses at outside institutions received either an “A” or “B.” Those inflated grades are what Costa students have to compete with, or they must choose a lesser educational experience at an outside institution, Uhalt said.

“Students currently have the option of taking a course at an outside institution that they know will be practically a guaranteed ‘A,’” Advanced Placement Psychology teacher Aaron Kofahl said. “To allow grades from those places to count as Costa grades on the transcript puts students who take the classes during the school year at a competitive disadvantage.”

We want students to have a better academic experience by taking a class during the school year, Uhalt said.

“I think that the new grading scale is a positive change that will benefit many students in these classes,” senior Max Severo said. “However, I think the changes will have some negative repercussions as some students may think that it will give them a break and they won’t have to work as hard to get an ‘A’ in their class.”

About Michael Todd 2 Articles
Michael Todd is currently La Vista’s Online News Editor, and works on posting the news stories to the website. As a sophomore he worked as a staff writer. In his free time Michael enjoys hanging out with friends and going to the beach.

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