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4 grading scales you may encounter as a teacher

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2015 13:47 PM

One of the major parts of being a teacher involves deciding on and using a grading scale. Some schools require educators to follow a specific system to promote institution-wide ease of use, and others let individual staff members decide what to use. Which ever method your school uses, here are some grading systems to know:

Some teachers choose to do away with the more complicated grading scales and instead opt for the simplicity of passing or failing students. Elementary schools are more prone to using this method, as their grades are not necessarily relevant to GPAs and standardized testing. The negative side of pass/fail grading is that students may do only the minimum amount of work necessary to pass.

Letter-grade system
Teachers most often opt for the letter-grade system, giving students marks from A to F depending on the student's level of effort and successful execution. Elementary schools, like Newport News Public Schools, may use a different system, with S for satisfactory, or meets grade level standards. P is used to denote the student is progressing but not yet meeting grade level standards, and U refers to unsatisfactory, or not making progress or meeting grade level standards.

The letter-grade systems are often paired with percentages to make calculating a student's grades more accurate. Typically, letters and percentages line up in units of ten, with A meaning the student was 90 - 100 percent correct and F referring to the student scoring 59 percent or lower. This is the most widely used grading system in the U.S. and prepares students for higher education, where similar scales will very likely be used. It is easier for educators to guess how their students will do on Common Core Standardized Testing when they can compare grades with others in the area via percentage-based grading.

Curve-based systems are sometimes used when a particularly difficult test really stumps students. Instead of considering answering every question right to be an A or 100 percent grade, the teacher will base the top score off of the highest grade that was actually achieved. For example, maybe a student earned a 76 out of 100 on a biology test. If that's the highest score out of the entire class, the teacher can grade on a curve, making a 76 an A and moving the rest of the grade letters down as necessary. Teachers who consistently notice their students are not up to par on exams and homework may need to rethink how they teach, as it becomes clear that the students are not learning as much as they need to.