Difference in honors grading is unfair


This correspondence has everything to do with fairness and consistency as far as Howland High School honor students are concerned. It is time to stop punishing these students with unfair grading systems, which have been a perpetual problem at Howland High School since the inception of the Honors Program so many years ago.

Academically talented students strive to achieve the highest level of education Howland has to offer. High school and district administrators prefer to maintain status quo so as not to ”rock any boats.” This is not acceptable, especially when our students endure the effects of a system that does not accurately measure the academic achievements of its honor students.

The issue is this: Certain honors classes this year at Howland High School are being graded on a 90 percent to 100 percent grade scale while others are being graded on a 94 percent to 100 percent scale. These courses are all designated as honors, so why is administration allowing two different grade scales?

When asked, Howland Superintendent John Sheets stated that the 90 percent to 100 percent grade scale in some of the honors classes has been implied for the last three years.

At the last school board meeting Mr. Sheets and the board members were asked if the two different grade scales are fair. Not one person would answer the question. Until pressured again and again, finally Mr. Sheets replied that he thinks it is ”indeed fair.”

Even though the Howland Schools handbook states that to receive an A grade you need to score a 94 percent or higher. Again Mr. Sheets replied he thought it was fair that some classes were graded at 90 percent A.

How is this justified? It is time for families of Howland honor students to demand equality, consistency, and fairness for all.

Beginning in January, meetings with district administrators and board of education members have resulted in no action to correct the inconsistent grading practices occurring at Howland High School this year. The issue has been sidestepped and tabled over and over for nearly five months.

A fair solution to all students in the honors classes is to adjust the grade scale to 90 percent to 100 percent in all honors classes, retroactive to August 2010 when the ”implied” grading began. Many students will see an improved GPA and increased merit and scholarship assistance as a result of modifying the honors classes’ grade scale immediately. The time to nurture and recognize these students is now.

The realization that district administrators and board members have done nothing to remedy this problem is extremely disheartening. The superintendent and the board’s unwillingness to take a stand on behalf of the students is inexcusable and shameful.

The reality is that our school board members need to stop rubber-stamping administrators’ decisions that are anti-student and anti-Howland community. Lastly, it is time for Howland parents, Howland residents, and the local media to attend the school board meetings and ask, what is going on at Howland Schools?

Anthony Grech