When our children were still in middle school, many years ago, I didn’t know anything about homeschooling high school, which made me really anxious. Consequently, I did what I always do when I’m anxious - I ate cookies and I researched like crazy. I researched transcripts, course descriptions, curriculum, and grading - the whole shebang. Both helped (the cookies and the research), and eventually I became much more confident and competent, but I was still perplexed about the whole concept of grading scales. It seemed like every book I read said something different about the right way to determine just what was an "A" and what wasn’t. I read a lot of different educational books, and there wasn’t any agreement on one official grading scale that everyone should use.
The first grading scale I looked at included a whole lot of letters, symbols, numbers, and percent marks, and was very complicated. In fact, it was completely overwhelming for me. I think someone who was really into statistics created it, but if I’d had to use it for every single one of the 30+ classes my children had taken, I’d probably have gone crazy.
97-100% = A+, 93-96% = A, 90-92% = A-, 87-89% = B+, 83-86% = B, 80-82% = B-, 77-79% = C+, 73-76% = C, 70-72% = C-, 67-69% = D+, 63-66% = D, 60-62% = D-, <60% = F
The next grading scale had a different feel to it, because it wasn’t nearly as long. This scale said 93-100% was an A; it didn’t get into the whole A+ and A- thing, so it was a bit simpler than the first one. However, it seemed to me that a 92% should be counted as an A, so this scale didn’t really work for me, either.
93-100% = A, 85-92% = B, 75-84% = C, 70-74% = D, Below 70% = F
Another grading scale I read about stated that 90-100% was an A and 80-89% was a B. This was so straightforward and easy that I almost jumped for joy! This scale happens to be the grading scale I chose for our family, and the biggest reason I chose it had to do with the number 90.
90-100% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, Below 60% = F
I knew that my children were going to get 90% and above on everything they studied, because we based our homeschool on the concept of mastery. If they got a test or paper back that scored below 90%, we usually reviewed the chapter or topic until they understood the concepts, before they moved on to the next section. In other words, we made sure they mastered each new concept before they continued on. This practice meant they would get all A’s, which meant I would never have to calculate a grade point average, which I really wanted to avoid in our homeschool!
Of course, if your student does have grades that are lower than an A, you should be honest and show it on their transcript. It doesn’t necessarily look bad; it shows you’ve given thoughtful consideration to your grades, and didn’t only write down a bunch of A’s because you could.
Colleges understand that there are many right ways to show grades, because they interact with a large number of public and private high schools all the time. Each of these high schools might have their own way of determining grades, so colleges already deal with differences in grading scales. The important thing is that you can do what’s right for your kids; you can educate them in the way that makes sense for you, and you can still make sure colleges have the information they need, in the love language they understand.
I recommend that you think about each grading scale option and choose the one that works for you. If you can’t decide, throw a dart. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which one you choose, because even the experts disagree. You are the parent, and you know what’s best for your homeschool. As with many things in your homeschool, you have the freedom to choose your own path. When it comes to grades, there are many right ways to homeschool high school.
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