by Dara Tucker
It’s no secret that WHS is known for academic excellence. Our students’ performances on standardized tests are consistently ranked among the best in the state. But, WHS would benefit from an updated grading system that more closely matches those of other schools.
The most significant problem with WHS’ current grading policy is the absence of “minuses.” This means that, for example, an A- would be an average between 90-92. Higher achievement is reinforced with the use of “pluses,” but by adding minuses to the grading system, both students and the college admission officers can view them in the most accurate light.
Under the current system, a student who gets a 79.5 is essentially no different from a student who gets an 85.
Additionally, WHS’ current system forces colleges, internships and summer programs to play a guessing game when evaluating WHS applicants.
Even though colleges read a school report defining WHS’ system, WHS students are still not evaluated most accurately because what is treated as a B+ at WHS, for example, might be a B at most other schools.
This makes WHS students look less competitive, and therefore less admissible, compared to students at other schools. In fact, while WHS considers an average between 90-92 to be worth 4.0 grade points, most colleges only consider it to be worth 3.7 points, according to collegeboard.org.
If a newer system were implemented, however, the playing field would be leveled. WHS students would be seen in a similar light as students at other schools, so colleges can make the most precise judgment possible on a student’s application.
Adding minuses would allow students to evaluate their own performance more accurately and permit colleges to do the same.
Without a clearer grading system, WHS is doing its students a disservice.