Do you find yourself wondering why the grading scale has changed once again? Look no further than the recently passed Tennessee laws: SB0388 and HB0324, which are responsible for said changes. Our beloved seven-point grading scale is now a ten-point scale, meaning that a letter grade is now a range of ten points as opposed to the seven points most people are used to.
This scale, in concept, at least should simplify standards based grades. But it very much does not. In fact, it shows how convoluted the standards based system really is. In a perfect world, the standards based grading would line up with the ten point scale. This would make sense as they are both base 10 systems (one in the form of decimals), however we do not live in a perfect world.
Unfortunately as illustrated in the attached graph, it is clear that these do not line up . An “A” is a 100 to a 90, or a 5 to 4.3. A “B” is an 89 to an 80 or a 4.2 to a 3.5. A “C” is a 79 to a 70 or a 3.4 to a 2.5. A “D” is a 69 to a 60 or a 2.4 to a 1.5. And an “F” is a 59 and below but is a 1.4 to a 1 on the standards chart.
This is making some beg the question: “why?” This can be answered fairly simply, the ten point grading scale is an attempt at uniformity with grading in other states and that of colleges. The new scale is fine on its own, but our standards based grading system was calibrated for the seven point scale so now that needs to change.
In practice, most of this is not a problem, however it is a mess when trying to be explained, as was just illustrated.