New grading scale impacts thousands of Tennessee students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — With the new school year comes a new grading scale, as Tennessee lawmakers said the previous grading scale presented challenges for families.

“It has been brought to my attention by some constituents that Tennesseans are at an academic disadvantage compared to students from other states,” said state Rep. Charlie Baum (R-Murfreesboro). “That’s because students from other states are on a 10-point grading scale and Tennessee students were on a seven-point grading scale.”

Tennessee’s previous grading scale meant that getting a 92 in Kentucky was an “A” while getting a 92 in the Voluntary State was a “B”. Letter grades then had a negative impact on students’ grade point averages. Each state that borders Tennessee is on a 10-point scale.

“The idea for this bill was presented to me by military families in Clarksville who have children who transferred to schools in Tennessee from another state with a 10-point grading scale, automatically resulting in the drop in GPAs of these military students,” the state senator said. Bill Powers (R-Clarksville). “In some cases, this has resulted in the loss of scholarships.”

Powers sponsored SB 0388 and Baum sponsored HB 0324 which required the state board’s uniform grading system for enrolled students in grades nine through 12 to use a 10-point grading scale.

“This change in the grading scale brings Tennessee in line with the other eight states around us, which is certainly beneficial for military families,” Powers said. “It also ensures that Tennessee students don’t lose scholarships to students in another state with a more lenient grading system.”

The new grading scale comes into effect for the 2022-2023 school year. This now means that an “A” grade is a percentage of points between 90 and 100, for a “B” it’s 80 to 89, for a “C” it’s 70 to 79, for a “C” it’s 60 to 69 a “D” and zero to 59 for an “F”.

“We don’t want our constituents and their students who are in high school to be academically disadvantaged when they enroll in colleges or to be financially disadvantaged when they apply for scholarships” , Baum said. “I even have anecdotal evidence from other reps representing their constituents in Nashville who said they know a family or two who moved their high school student back to their home state because their high school student didn’t want to lose their GPA. cumulative grade point of 4.0.

The new grading scale is not retroactive and therefore has no impact on previous grades.

“Retroactivity was discussed at the General Assembly, we felt like we didn’t have the judiciary to make the law retroactive to affect GPAs for people who had already graduated from high school,” said Baum. “But the law affects the GPAs that will be calculated for any high school student who is currently in high school. If they have an active high school transcript and a GPA for that transcript is being calculated, the law should affect them.

The Williamson County School Board voted unanimously on Monday to have the 10-point grading scale apply to grades 2 through 12. Schools in Rutherford County will have the 10-point grading scale for third to 12th grade. WCS Superintendent Jason Golden explained why the policy was not retroactive, as the issue was raised by several school board members.

“The July 22 State Board of Education, wisely, I think, determined the previous grading scale would continue for previous years because it’s virtually impossible to go back and figure it all out,” said declared Golden. “Some students didn’t get credit because for the state and for us, 69 and under was a failure, but now it’s going to be 59 and under, it was a practical impossibility to go back and who should have gotten credit, who could’ve done credit recovery Didn’t get credit, then had to take the same course a second time and get a different grade Some students moved , some teachers have left, they have retired.The mere combination of all of these needs makes it virtually impossible to retroactively change all of these grades.

District leaders said their software also does not support tracking two parallel grading scales at the same time.

The state uses the grading scale to calculate qualifications for the Hope Scholarship, and Superintendent Golden said the change will help ensure WCS students get credit for courses that will qualify them for the state scholarship. .

“What we have experienced over the years is that a student would have a particular GPA with Williamson County Schools and they would apply for the Hope Scholarship, the GPA might be slightly lower depending on the state configuring its grades with ours,” Golden said. “These difficulties will, for our current freshmen when they apply, be eliminated.”

Rep. Baum said the tax bill on the legislation is estimated to be about $3 million per year due to the greater number of students receiving Hope scholarships.

“There will be Tennessians who experience an increase in their GPA. Some of these people will for the first time become eligible for hope, scholarship lottery dollars,” Baum said. “So the bill has a small price tag, but we think that’s a good thing because it means new Tennessees will become eligible for Hope Scholarship Lottery dollars.”


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