Dual credit classes may see change in grading

Story by JB Wells, staff writer

Students planning to take dual credit classes next year may be in for a surprise. Texarkana College and dual credit high school teachers met earlier this month to discuss a change in the current grading scale.

“The college really wants us to change to a more college-like grading scale,” said Michelle Johnson, dual credit English Composition teacher. “But as of now, nothing has been decided.”

Currently, the high school grading structure is 50 percent tests and 50 percent daily work. The college’s grading scale weights tests, midterms and finals heavier.

Some high school teachers are in favor of the switch proposed by the college because it would make their classes more college-like. Others, though, feel as though their class is fine the way it is.

As of now, some dual credit teachers keep two grade books––one for the college and one for the high school. While this method has worked in the past, officials are seeking ways to make the high school and college grades consistent.

“I do not think that the current 50/50 scale makes my class as challenging as a college English course,” Johnson said. “If a student neglects to turn in one essay, they will still be able to pass. If this were a true college class, this would not be the case.”

The concern from most dual credit teachers is preparing the students for college, and most believe that by using a 50/50 grading scale, they cannot successfully represent a college class.

“I see the 50/50 scale as a crutch,” DC history teacher Danny Williams said.

The change may result in a higher rate of failures in dual credit classes.

“The chance exists for a higher rate of failure if people are not committed to the college state of mind,” dual credit government teacher John Littmann said. “Because the change to the grading scale switches students to a more test-centered style of grading, we will most likely see a higher rate of failure in our DC classes.”

Mark Schroeder, director of college and career readiness, said this change is imperative in order to better prepare students for college-level classes they would take after high school.

“Schools must continue promoting efforts in raising the bar for our students as competition for admissions is increasing and the expectations at the collegiate level are far more extreme than what high schools allow,” Schroeder said.

He also said that in order to be consistent with classes at the college, more emphasis should be placed on assessments.

“Students must focus on the assessments in any given course, as that is what the greatest weight college and universities will give in evaluating student performance,” Schroeder said. “If we continue watering down the grade with daily work assignments, students will not be prepared for those courses that offer a limited number of grades in a semester college level course.”