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Changing grading doesn't change results

Edward F. Kleinman Pawcatuck

Publication: The Day

Published 09/14/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 09/13/2013 03:02 PM

Equal interval grading (EIG), the new grading system being piloted at Fitch High School, is numerical chicanery designed to pass students who would otherwise fail under the old system, thus enabling social promotion ("Help is on the way amid Fitch high school changes," published Aug. 24).

At the heart of EIG is a cleverly contrived, separate and non-linear grading scale for failing test scores. This effectively abolishes the widely adopted metric of requiring students to master at least 60percent of the course material, based on test score average, in order to pass.

Because failing test scores are effectively raised by EIG, poor performing students enjoy the possibility of having a final grade of F become a D or even a C- as test scores are averaged. There are even circumstances where different test score distributions with identical averages under the 100-point system will result in different final grades under EIG. Does this make sense? On the other hand, good students whose test scores never fall below 60 will not be affected by EIG and they will get identical grades, despite the needless confusion.

If EIG is adopted, Fitch should carefully explain the process to colleges in order to avoid the perception of grade inflation.

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