February 21, 2018

New History grading system will not benefit students long term

Staff Editorial

The History department revealed its new grading scale on Friday Jan. 19. They implemented this change in order to ensure that all Mira Costa students are on an equal grading system, whether or not they can afford to  take History courses over the summer. Although this change was essential to ensure the grading system financially equal for all students in the History department, the grade inflation that comes with it may have a more damaging outcomes in the long run.

According to the new History grading system, an “A” will begin at a 78%, “B” at a 68% and “C” at a 58%. The History department based the new grading scale numbers on the final grades imput into Aeries, including the grades from MBX summer school, Halstrom and Fusion summer school programs, History department co-chair Ian Uhalt said. The curve from the data revealed that 96% of students who took a course from an outside institution, in this case MBX, Halstrom or Fusion, received an “A” or “B.” And of those students, 78% received an “A.” Thus, the History department wanted to create a grading system that would parallel that of summer school so that summer school students do not have an unfair grade advantage.

The purpose of the grade scale readjustment of the grading system is to reflect the standard the district has chosen to accept with summer school, Uhalt said.  The History department has consistently tried to show that it is not fair that students in summer school have the opportunity to pay for a higher grade, yet have to complete less work. While this may be true, lowering grade expectations is not the strongest way to reduce the number of students who take History courses over the summer, as it will devalue the grades that students earn during the school year at Costa.

Although the grading scale has been adjusted down, the rigor of History classes will remain the same, Uhalt said. We believe, if the course is going to be of the same rigor and cover the same material, students should have to work at a similar level for their grade instead of being handed grades derived from average percentages.

An unintended consequence that may arise with this new grading scale is that colleges may become aware that the grade a student receives in History courses are of less value, Uhalt said. Furthermore, colleges may determine that the high grade earned does not reflect the student’s level of knowledge. Even though it is unfair that some students have the advantage of taking courses at outside institutions, the new grading system could possibly be detrimental to students who would normally receive an “A” under the previous scale.

Although the History department is making this decision for the well-being of their students and for an equal educational experience, the new grading system is completely unfair and is blatantly inflating student’s grades in order to match with summer school grades, which do not hold the same standards of rigor and material. Rather than taking this action, the History department should consider different actions in order to avoid inflating grades in the name of a fairer education. During summer school, no matter the institution, the rigor and pace of the class is not equal to a full year history class, which is why grades earned during the year should mean more at Costa and should be harder to earn.

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