Changes possibly coming to SC grading scale

Changes possibly coming to SC grading scale

SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) – South Carolina may have some changes coming to the state's GPA scale in schools.  Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman recently announced a possible change from a seven-point grade scale to a ten-point grade scale.

If the ten point scale in enacted in South Carolina, then grades will be 90-100 percent for an A, 80-89 percent for a B, 70-79 for a C and 60-69 percent for a D.  Right now, 93-100 is an A.  The seven points below that is a B, and so on.

Education officials say the new grading scale will put South Carolina on a more competitive level with surrounding states like North Carolina and Georgia, who operate on the ten-point scale.  The problem is, the committee says, a student who receives a 92 percent in South Carolina would receive a B while a student with the same percentage in a ten-point scale state would receive an A.  This can drastically change a student's GPA.

"What we're hoping for is we're going to come up with a plan that benefits every student, that it's something that also allows South Carolina to be competitive with the surrounding states and other states, no matter where our students want to go," Myrtle Beach High School Principal John Washburn said.

Principal Washburn helps decide the grade scale because he serves on the Uniform Grading Committee as the Horry County representative.  He said the point extension will not make it easier for students because the curriculum will remain rigorous.

"It is something I think will be tremendously beneficial for all of our students," Washburn said.

Although for all students, the grade scale change can greatly, there could be larger impacts for student athletes and students considered 'at-risk' because of learning disabilities or home situations.

The NCAA requires a 2.3 GPA for eligibility, but considers the state scale as well.  A local university coach said the grade scale change will help him recruit new athletes, but he's more excited to see it help those who struggle in school or get lost in the system.

The committee will debate the issue more on Tuesday.  The grade scale is part of a four-point plan which also includes changes to credit recovery, content unit recovery, and failure due to attendance.

The proposal must pass through the State Board of Education for review.  If it passes, 13,000 more South Carolina students will be eligible for the South Carolina Education Lottery.

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