Grades are on the rise in MCPS

Dec. 3, 2018, 9:13 a.m. | By Sam Kulp | 4 years, 6 months ago

New study shows that A's are rising while D's are dropping

A recent case study by the Montgomery County Board of Education revealed that grade inflation is on the rise in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). The report was released on Aug. 2 after the Board's newest member, Jill Ortman-Fouse, requested information regarding a drop in student performance after the shift in MCPS' grading policy in 2015. However, the study revealed that the number of A's has nearly doubled in core classes since 2015, while that of D's has dropped steadily.

New study shows that A's are rising while D's are dropping. Photo courtesy of MCPS.

Before 2015, final exams played a major role in students' grades, accounting for 20 percent of their quarterly grade and a third of their semester grade. According to MCPS, "On November 10, 2015, the Board revised Grading and Reporting Resolution 492-15, which eliminated two-hour semester final exams and replaced them with quarterly district assessments in certain high school courses."

With final exams abolished, students could receive an A for the semester as long as they earned an A for one quarter and at least a B in the remaining quarter. As a result, the number of A's in core math classes rose from 16.1 percent in 2015 to 31.9 percent last year. The number of D's dipped to 9.8 percent last year compared to 17.7 percent three years ago. While the policy shift correlates with these trends, some believe that teachers may be playing a major role in this growing issue.

Curving grades involves lowering the point total of a test to give students a higher grade in relation to the number of questions they got right. While this process is usually reserved for difficult tests, some students believe it is unjust. "Curving tests is unfair," sophomore Joel Simpson said. "I mean, if they [the students] don't get a good grade in the first place, they don't deserve one later."

Junior Max Worley also believes teachers may be at the source of the trend, but not necessarily because of curving. "The issue is not the tests, but the quality of the teaching," he said. While there have been no recent reports to assess the quality of teaching, it is clear that some students believe there is a strong relationship between what teachers have been doing and the recent upward trend in grades.

Last updated: Dec. 3, 2018, 9:14 a.m.

Tags: MCPS grade inflation

Sam Kulp. Hi! I'm Sam. Other than writing articles for SCO, I enjoy playing tennis and watching the Eagles play on Sunday. #FlyEaglesFly More »

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