High school grade system getting overhaul

The Board of Education recently approved a proposal to change to a 10-point grading scale at the high schools starting in the fall, moving away from the current eight-point scale.

For example, currently, the point range for earning an A is 92-100, a B is 83-91, and so on. Next year, the range for an A will be 90-100, a B will be 80-89, and so on.

On the bottom end of the scale, students currently are given an F for any scores 64 and below. Under the new scale for next year, it will take a score of 59 and below to be given an F.

Althea Sheaff, executive director of curriculum and instruction, said the change was made for two reasons, one being to bring the city’s two public high schools in line with the scale used at most other high schools in the area.

According to a survey conducted by the school district, high schools in the Manchester, Salem, Merrimack, Londonderry and Hollis/Brookline school districts also use a 10-point scale.

“For students applying to college and for scholarship money, an A in Nashua was at 92, but in another school, a student might get a 90 and get an A, where our students would only get a B-plus,” Sheaff said.

According to the United States ment of Education, the 10-point scale is the most common scale used in high schools.

Sheaff said the change would also align the high schools with the 10-point scale used at the middle schools.

It would seem the change would make it easier for students to earn higher grades and make them less likely to fail, but Sheaff said she didn’t see it that way.

“Teachers will adjust,” she said. “If you’ve got an A paper in English, whether it’s a 90 or 92, it’s an A paper.”

Brian Cochrane, director of accountability and assessment, said the change would go into effect at the start of the school year for all students, but wouldn’t be retroactive for grades earned before next year.