Making the Grades

THE MARTINS Ferry School District is making the grade in academic circles. Its schools have drawn high state rankings while Ayers Elementary has also been designated a 2013 School of Promise.

The Martins Ferry administration, however, is not content to stand pat. Rather, it is looking to raise the academic bar.

At Monday’s board of education meeting, High School Principal Jeff Oberdick and Guidance Counselor Robert Dalton presented a proposal which would change the grading scale.

The plan calls for the high school scale to be tweaked in order to allow for plus and minus classifications for grades. Dalton said the system would call for adopting the 10-point grading scale.

He said the change would level the field with students competing for scholarships with districts that utilize a 10-point scale. Dalton believes that the change might encourage students to take more demanding classes if they know a slip will not be overly detrimental to their GPAs. He added that both mid-range and higher-achieving students will have an opportunity to earn a slightly higher distinction.

Many local school districts have such a plan already in place. Oberdick said the issue came to light when Ferry received transfers from other schools.

Oberdick and Dalton noted that most of the high school teachers are in favor of such a move. He pointed out that US News and World Report ranks the top 100 high school in the country. Of a random survey of 45, 33 use the 10-point system. The US Department of Education concluded that the most common system in the country is the 10-point scale.

If such is the case, it appears Martins Ferry students would be elevated to a level playing field should the 10-point scale be implemented. Vying for college scholarships is a very competitive business. If the Martins Ferry administration did its homework properly, it appears the new format may yield many more opportunities for its students.