Natchez schools switch to ten-point grading scale

Published 1:01 am Sunday, February 28, 2010

NATCHEZ — In an effort to level the playing field for students, the Natchez-Adams School District is switching to a 10-point grading scale.

Superintendent Anthony Morris said surrounding states have already enacted a 10-point grading system and more than 100 Mississippi school districts have switched.

The 7-point grade scale, meaning an A is 93-100, puts Natchez-Adams students at a disadvantage when the student applies to a university, Natchez Athletic Director Fred Butcher said.

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“Say a student averages a 92 in every class throughout high school,” Butcher said. “In Mississippi that student has a 3.0 and a similar student in Alabama has a 4.0 — this puts the Mississippi student at a big disadvantage when it comes to scholarships.”

“(The 10-point grading scale) will ensure we are on the same playing field as other states,” he said.

The board approved the grade-scale change in June, but Morris chose to delay its implementation.

Morris wanted to make sure there would be no glitches in the electronic grading system and he wanted time for everyone involved — staff, students and parents — to be educated on reasons for the change.

“The only concern I have is that it is going to have to be phased in over a period of time,” Morris said. “Unless we are dealing with a senior, it is going to affect them because some of their years will be under the 10-point system and others on the 7-point system.”

“It is not a problem we can’t handle, but it is a concern,” he said.

Morris and Butcher said they have received mostly positive feedback about the change.

As a bonus, Butcher said the change could affect the dropout rate.

“We always focus on the dropout rate at high school,” Butcher. “But this will help focus on the lower grades because when you look at kids who have been held back two or three times, they may lose interest in school.”

Butcher said the change would also help the student who gets off to a bad start.

“The student will still have hope that he or she can make it up,” he said.

For more information, Butcher said the Natchez-Adams School District would put up a frequently asked questions section on its Web site at