New grading scale
Hall County Schools Monday added a 4.5 grade scale to account for mid-level advanced courses .
5.0: International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement courses
4.5: Honors courses and "excel" courses taken at local colleges
4.0: Regular courses
The Hall County school system is changing how it grades advanced high school courses.
School board members approved a new three-tiered, 5.0 grade-point average scale at their meeting Monday night.
The existing two-tiered level has most courses on a 4.0 grading scale and honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual-enrollment courses on a second level with a 5.0 grading scale.
"We're proposing we add a level two that represents all of our honors courses and our ‘excel' courses, which are those students take at local colleges for credit, and make that 4.5," said Terry Sapp, educator on special assignment for Hall County Schools. "The third level would transition all of our IB and AP courses to a 5.0 grading scale. ... The AP and IB courses we currently offer are more rigorous than honors and level one courses, and we believe the grades attached should reflect that."
The system will do away with the five points Hall County adds to students' final AP and IB class grades. Sapp said the move would help the county's top-performing students as they apply for college.
"If a student scores 96 to 100, they don't get the extra benefit of those five points because 100 is the maximum," Sapp said.
And when students apply for college in the University System of Georgia, those five points get subtracted, meaning if a student earns a 100, it gets counted as a 95 even if they earned the 100 without the extra five points.
Losing the current grading scale means fewer issues for teachers and administrators at the end of the school year as well.
"Since I've been in Hall County, the manual addition of that five points has caused all kinds of errors, from teachers forgetting to do it to teachers choosing to award different amounts of those five points to different students," Sapp said.
The three-tier system will also allow for Hall County valedictorians and salutatorians who have taken a variety of classes from level one to IB and AP.
"(Currently), we can have a valedictorian or salutatorian who have just taken honors courses, because they have the same weight (as IB and AP)," Sapp said.
All Hall County high school principals are in favor of the new system, which will go into effect next school year, Sapp said.