CPS Grading Scale

October 20, 2009 at 11:02 pm 50 comments

I got a note this week from my son’s school that referenced the CPS recommended grading scale, which I have to admit surprised me.  Here’s how it looks:

A    93%-100%

B    88% – 92%

C    78% – 87%

D    70% – 77%

F    0% – 69%

I don’t have anything insightful or witty to say about this.  It just strikes me as weird.  Why is CPS so much tougher than the typical grading scale?  Whatever happened to the old-fashioned 90% is an A, 80% is a B, etc?  I can’t figure out the reasoning behind it.  Grade inflation? (Or is it deflation?)  The appearance of high academic standards?

C supposedly stands for “Meets the Standard” so I guess I wouldn’t want the standard to be in the 70%’s.  Then again, I guess I never thought of getting C’s as meeting a standard.  So maybe that’s the confusing part.

In any case, our school officials voted to revise our grading scale, which is great.  But I think about the grades needed to get into the Selective Enrollment high schools and how strange it is that each school can determine their own grading scale.  Heck, make it really lax and all our students can get into a good school! (kidding.)

As usual, if anybody has insight into this, please share.

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50 Comments Add your own

  • 1. also obsessed  |  October 21, 2009 at 9:41 am

    I heard that all the grade schools were, this year, supposed to be uniform in their A-F grading scale.

    Not sure if it is happenning as of yet, but it was the whole issue of Selective Enrollment Highschools that got the conversation started, as I understand it.

  • 2. Another mommy  |  October 21, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I guess the standards are higher for gifted schools. It’s still unfair. 87% in any subject should be a “B” not a “C.”

  • 3. yet another mom  |  October 21, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I don’t understand how there is a 7 point spread for an A, a 5 point spread for a B, and 11 point spread for a C and a 7 point spread for a D.

  • 4. another mommy  |  October 21, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    @ yet another mom-

    I thought the exact same thing.

  • 5. former straight A (90%) student  |  October 21, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    87% should be a solid to high B and not a C ! ! !

    At least with the new grade portals we can see exactly how they are doing on their assignments. I personally love them and have found them to be a huge incentive for my oldest to do well.

  • 6. mom  |  October 21, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Our catholic school has this scale. Our local public school did have this but went to the traditional 90-100 is an A.

  • 7. dazedandconfused  |  October 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    interesting. i just got a notice that said our school [skinner west] ‘s “newly revised grading scale” was the 90-100 = A, 80-89 B. no idea what it was formerly.

  • 8. GPA  |  October 22, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    There is no uniformity of grading scales within CPS, even within a school, different teachers can have differnet scales for A, B, C, D etc. CPS needs to set standards so that all are graded the same curve

    Curious to know why everyone thinks a lower scale (90-100 for an A) is good. When kids get into HS- they will be in for a rude awakening with some honors and AP classes with scales where 95-100 = A, 89-94 =B etc.

  • 9. chicago parent  |  October 23, 2009 at 10:42 am

    A uniform grading scale would be the only fair way to go. So if your school assumes that 92+ is an A & others give an A for 90+, your child will be at a disadvantage when applying to an accelerated program that uses grades as part of their admissions criteria. This disadvantage could be significant since 25 points are deducted per grade level less than an A (-25pts for a B, -50 points for a C & so on). A straight B average is -100 points.
    Another thing to consider is how the grade is calculated. I thought the purpose of a grade was to measure a student’s knowledge of the subject. Some school’s put a large weighting on project work & homework. A much better measure of knowledge would be to weigh in-class work like quizzes & tests for the majority of the grade. This along with rampant grade inflation may account for the large discrepancy between test scores and grades among many students.

  • 10. Molly  |  November 9, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    For as long as I have been in school, I am currently a junior in college, the grading scale has always been 93-100 is an A. I’ts funny looking at it now because to me a 90% does not seem like it is even close to being in the A range. Students will be more prepared for the grading scale in high school if they receive this in elementary also. However, I do agree that CPS should have a uniform grading scale. It was always the case that the public and private schools differed, and therefore one was thought to be “more challenging” than the other. Not true.

  • 11. concerned  |  November 16, 2009 at 12:48 am

    I think that in all fairness the grades should entered as points/percentages for the selective enrollment process so that a uniform grade can be assigned to the subject. This would take care of variances in grading scales.

  • 12. Tammy Woods  |  November 20, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I just received my 4th graders first report card and was shocked to receive an F in Reading (which he is an advanced reader). I was shocked to learn that the GPA that I grew up with is history and now the system is much stronger. It seems that our quality of education is going down and the demands are going up! How do you feel that I should discipline a 4th grader?

  • 13. Jackie Keller  |  March 3, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    As a homeschooler, I use a 7 point grading scale: 93-100 A, 85-92 B etc. The 90-100 A system is assisting in the overall dumbing down of America! Our children shouldn’t be taught that 90 is excellent. It’s good, but not excellent!

  • 14. Student  |  September 28, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Speaking as a student that goes to a selective enrollment highschool the grading system IS a little messed up. I think they need to find a new way to grade all together. It is EXTREMELY frustrating as a student to be getting a 100% in a class and then drop one letter grade becuase you got half-credit on ONE assignment for whatever reason. Its so stressful. The averaging system seems like the best and only choice but it is really tough. It teaches responsibility in a way, but everyone is human and everyone WILL forget things once in a while or some days they WILL be too overwhelmed with other work to finish all of it properly. As for the whole grading scale thing i think its good that they let teachers have their own. How hard a class is DOES vary from teacher to teacher and every teacher has a different method of teaching so i think different grading scales are essential as long as they stay in an acceptable range.

  • 15. Alex-Haley-Student  |  January 28, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I believe that the grading scale is rediculous.! I think it is because how are you going to say 100-93% is an A. At my old school 100-90 % Was an an, A! This grading scale is so messd up! but it is right, because they hang it in every class i go to!

  • 16. Jeannine Cordero  |  May 13, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I would be very interested in working with a group who is lobbying for an across the board uniform grading scale within CPS. This is a very serious issue, particularly when applying to selective enrollment high schools. In Tier 4, if you have one “B” on your report card, you are out at Payton and Northside even with perfect scores. If someone is working on this issue, please let me know so I can help.

  • 17. kiki  |  June 1, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    I just wrote on the otherside about the grading system, do anyone know how colleges look at this since there are different grading scales?

  • 18. Donzo Mortini  |  June 1, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    As a CPS elementary school teacher,
    I’ve always hated this grading scale.

    I circumvent it by entering grades
    as “A,” “B,” “C,” and so forth.

    Gradebook accepts letter grades,
    by the way.

    To H with this oddly rigorous grading scale.

  • 19. G.Smith  |  August 12, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    This Grading scale is seriously an issue, because it confuses the children. It makes them think they are failing when they are not. What is with all these test, and model classes. A six year old should not be denied childhood, because they have to study to cut the mustard……someone please…get rid of this mess….

  • 20. velocity  |  January 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Uniformity is needed, particularly among the selective enrollment high schools. Students at Northside and Payton should compete based on a level playing field.

  • 21. Anthony Brancato  |  January 25, 2012 at 9:37 am

    You’re lucky; in many schools you now need a 94 to get an A, although when that’s the case it’s generally 86 to 93 for a B, 78 to 85 for a C and 70 to 77 for a D.

  • 22. sue emerick  |  February 3, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Our catholic school has the 7 point spread grading scale, our public school has the 10 point spread….how do colleges look at this, seems they are not comparing apples with apples.

  • 23. Sandy  |  June 8, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    This is very close to the grading scale I had in high school. My husband’s schools was even tougher! In my opinion, a 90% is not good enough for an “A”.

  • 24. lawmom  |  June 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    The issue is uniformity — across schools. Within CPS there should be one grading scale. No. 22 brought up a good point between public and catholic — not sure how colleges look at it, but kids within CPS are hurt particularly during the selective enrollment process when some are graded on the 10 point and others on a 7 point. Kids in gifted programs do not receive a “weighted” grade either even though they are working at a high level.

  • 25. cpsobsessed  |  December 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Just wanted to update – as of the end of 2012 I’ve heard of more elem school switching to the 90%=A, 80%B scale, including my son’s school. I think parent pressure to not put the kids at a disadvantage for SE high schools helped make that happen.

    BUT, schools still have discretion to do what they want on the grading scale.

  • 26. IKnowItAll  |  January 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    All schools used to use this scale, and as part of the dumbing down of America, the standards were dropped in the fuzzy 1970s.

  • 27. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 16, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Our n’hood schools have 93%=A, etc. The schools that use the 90%=A makes it easier for their kids to get into SEHS

  • 28. Anonymous  |  January 21, 2013 at 12:07 am

    I’m in High school and my grading scale is similar but slightly less difficult.

    A: 92-100
    B: 85-91
    C: 77-84
    D: 70-76
    F: anything below 70.

  • 29. Loso  |  January 24, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    I actually go to a cps school i think its fair and its not gifted its on the south side just pushes me to do better and i think it helps

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  • 31. Lexus  |  January 27, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Seriously? Standardized the school grading scale?? What’s considered fair? I don’t understand why do we need a discussion on the grading scale. Every school is different. Every teacher grades the students’ work different. If you want to be fair, then we should just have the students use the standardized test scores to be their grade. Higher grading scale doesn’t mean anything. Does it really push the kids to do better?! I don’t think so. It will probably give them more pressures and discourage them to learn.

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  • 35. Rabia  |  November 3, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    I think that the Cps grading scale should be like Cps high schools its not fair for the people who actually work hard and not get that much of a higher grade and many middle schoolers goals are to get into a good high school like lane tech not shurz people have higher goals in life for a better future and cps should make that goal come true.

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  • 37. SoxSideIrish4  |  December 12, 2013 at 6:04 am

    I just saw this thread brought back up by spam~It’s crazy that CPS doesn’t have a grading scale that is the same for all schools. WY is 93=A, but math and chemistry classes at Payton is 85%=A. It’s ridiculous. And although many selective universities are aware of the discrepancy ~ it’s really unfair for the WY kids.

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  • 41. Moms always worry  |  January 22, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Our grade school had that scale for years. They changed it to the normal one that I grew up with 90-100 = A etc. Cps should be the same across the board it is a problem when you are tryto get into a selective enrollment hs and you child has a 92 which is a B at one school and an A at another. The student with the 92 at the higher grading scale loses points because CPS only looks at the letter grade

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  • 44. lawmom  |  January 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I agree @37. We really need to have a uniform grading system. I gave my input at WY, as did many other parents, but the principal has refused. We really need to go before the school board and make a plea.

    I am not sure what 42 and 43 have got to do with this post. Let’s keep on topic please.

  • 45. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 26, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    44. lawmom | January 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    ITA with you and it’s my understanding that CPS does want a unified grading system. I believe this will happen against Kenner’s wishes. I only hope that Payton has to play by the same rules and not lower some of their classes to 85% =A. It’s ridiculous like where they are going to college. At WY, a kid has to have an acceptance letter to put down where they are going to college. At Payton, they ask where do you want to attend~they don’t have 22 kids going to Yale and Ivy leagues. That may be their first choice, but that doesn’t mean they were accepted or will be attending.

  • 46. Tom  |  March 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Typical CPS ridiculousness. It’s obvious whoever set those grading standards haven’t examined the situation from a teaching perspective.

    Although I’m not a teacher and haven’t been in high school for a very long time, it was easy to understand why the grading scale was set up the way it was. I even understood it when I was back in school. There’s not enough time in a typical K thru 12 class for teachers to give 100 question quizzes and tests (each question counting for 1%). They gave tests/quizzes with the number of questions that were divisible by 100. For example, a 20 question quiz would typically result in each question counting as 5% of the quiz (5% x 20 = 100%). A person could miss 2 out of 20 and still get an ‘A-’.

    So now a 10 question quiz results in:
    A = Zero incorrect answers
    B = 1 incorrect answers
    C = 2 incorrect answers
    D = 3 incorrect answers
    F = 4 or more incorrect answers

    I would assume a 10 question quiz is pretty common, and you have to get a perfect score to get an ‘A’

    While I realize that teachers average scores to get the final grades, it just seems that this grading system is arbitrary and will lead to teachers applying more subjective criteria when handing out grades. The last thing we need is teachers applying biased grades instead of using real data.

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