Academics

10-Point Grading Scale

In the fall of 2020, Trinity will move a 10-point grading scale. Having a more standardized and common understanding of what each letter grade represents will facilitate clearer communication among students, parents and teachers.

The result of many months of research, deliberation and preparation by our entire faculty, this change will allow parents and students to better focus on the most important task at hand, which is to guide students toward appropriately challenging academic choices.

In making this adjustment, students will be advised to seek first to demonstrate skills instead of chasing a numerical value. As Trinity prepares students for lives of meaning and purpose, our mission extends beyond simply preparing for college. An effective grading scale should reflect this in its measure of excellent, good or average work. Each student will be able better understand their own growth and the development of skills represented in each grade.

On this page is a chart comparing the current scale with the one that teachers will use beginning in the 2020-21 school year to grade student work.

Also below is an FAQ section which addresses common questions relating to the logistics and philosophy behind this change. This FAQ will be enhanced as we receive questions from the community.

10-Point Grading Scale

    • To be adopted beginning in the 2020-21 school year.

      To be adopted beginning in the 2020-21 school year.

FAQ for Parents and Students Regarding Trinity’s Rotational Schedule

List of 15 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. Why did Trinity adopt a 10-point grading scale?

    Our families are more familiar with a 10-point scale and it is easier to think in terms of 10 points.  Having a broader set of points will allow teachers to better communicate with students their grasp of a concept.
  • Q. When will this change take place?

    We will adopt this scale in the fall of 2020.
  • Q. How are teachers learning about this new grading scale?

    We have spent the 2019-2020 school year focusing on what grades measure, how grade inflation and deflation can occur and how to guide students toward understanding the measurable demonstrated skills that are recorded as grades. 
  • Q. How will Honor Roll or Head of School’s List recognition change?

    The criteria for recognition will not change.
  • Q. Is it going to be harder/easier to get an A?

    We expect our grade distribution to stay the same. Excellent work is still excellent work.  We will maintain our high standards and expectations for student work, knowing that universities value this practice about us.
  • Q. What about grade inflation?

    Our faculty has been using the 2019-2020 school year to more explicitly state what skills and quality of work correlates with each letter grade. This focus on consistent assessment of student work will help avoid grade inflation or deflation.
  • Q. Won’t teachers just make tests harder?

    No. Teachers are instead creating better means of measurement that align with the new scale. In an ongoing way, we are working with students to help them focus on how they can demonstrate their skills rather than chasing a particular number.
  • Q. What about colleges? What will they think?

    Colleges are very familiar with seeing schools change grading scales, and they are adept assessing schools with differing grading scales. We have already begun to communicate our plans to college and university admission departments.
  • Q. How will colleges take into account the change for students on both scales during their time at Trinity?

    On the transcript, student work that falls under the current grading scale will be reported separately from work that falls under the new grading scale.
  • Q. Is this new grading scale retroactive?

    No, there will be no retroactive recalculation of grades on student transcripts. Colleges want our assessed work already graded by teachers to express the values given as grades already.
  • Q. Why can’t this change be retroactive?

    Universities have explained in no uncertain terms that retroactive changes are not an accurate portrayal of the student’s measured progress in the class. Average work does not become good work and good work excellent work through a grading scale change.
  • Q. How will you guide our students to react to this change?

    We have and are spending time reinforcing with our students that they are not a number and they aren’t chasing a number. When grading scales are at their best, they are a measure of growth, understanding and skill development. What makes excellent work excellent? What makes good work turn the corner to great? What skills and talents does each of students need to focus on in their own path to understanding? These are important questions, especially today where a focus on developing lives of meaning and purpose extends beyond college prep to life skills. Through whole-school, classroom, and advisor discussions, we continue to help our students understand the lifelong value of this approach.
  • Q. Is this going to help me as a parent guide my student?

    Yes! Just as our mission charges us to guide each student toward discovering their path, we know that the key to success on any chosen path is establishing values centered on life-long learning. You can guide your child most effectively by helping them see appropriate challenges as they choose courses and by reinforcing that we are not measured by numbers but instead by what we do and show in the classroom toward our growth as learners.

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