Making the Grade

By: Liz Kittle

Seton-La Salle students may be at a disadvantage when applying for colleges, because the grading scale here is different than that of public schools in the area. Here a 92.5% is a B+, where at Mt. Lebanon High School, a 90% is an A. Are we really at a disadvantage?

Many other schools around the diocese implement the same grading scale that we do, including Central Catholic, Oakland Catholic, and Bishop Canevin.  When asked if about the grading scale, Central Catholic junior Paul Beer said, “I don’t think that our percentages even show up on our transcripts.”

I asked junior and senior guidance counselor, Mrs. Caves, the same question. Do our percentages show up on an official transcript? The answer is no, but what does show up on the transcript is our grading scale, which shows that a 93-100% is an A, instead of a 90-100% being an A. So the next question is, are we at a disadvantage?

The answer is unclear, the percentage of your grade doesn’t show up, but colleges can see that we have a much more rigorous grading scale, and therefore, the percentages “don’t matter”, but don’t they? If I have a 92% in my math class, and another student at Peters Township has a 92% in their math class, I have a B, and the Peters student has an A. If a college can’t see that I have a 92% B and can only see our grading scale, who’s to say that they will assume that my B+ is a 92, and not an 85?

Colleges are also sent what Mrs. Caves called a “high-school profile”. Included in this is the grading scale, the number of students in the school, and each grade, and also the percent of students who went on to some form of college after graduating last year. So based on our grading scale and the number of students we had accepted into a college or university last year, a college admissions director will see a B+ and realize that we are a college prep school, and therefore we are pushed harder, and more is expected of us. So this might even put us at an advantage when it comes to college admissions.

In the end, our grading scale, is yes, different from a public school, but whether or not this puts us at a disadvantage is how you choose to look at it, it’s truly one of those half-full half-empty situations.

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