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Dobbs Ferry H.S. Will Switch to Weighted Grading

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y.  –The idea behind weighting grades is that it encourages students to take more difficult classes by adding incentives, according to Dobbs Ferry High School principal John Falino, which is why the school will be making the switch next year.

“What we’re talking about here is adding additional value to these rigorous courses,” Falino said.  “The students are hesitating in some instances to take these more rigorous courses because of concerns over their [grade point average].”

Falino said some students will avoid more difficult classes for fear of a lower grade having a negative impact on their GPA.  With the weighted system students can earn a higher GPA by taking more rigorous courses.  Even if they do receive a lower grade the weighted system gives them a higher mark just for taking the class compared to if they had taken a potentially easier course.

“I want to give students the incentive to take these courses and I want them to feel safe doing it,” he said.

The system that Falino said will be in place for the next school year is a 1.5/1.10 ratio, which means any grades earned in standard level courses can be multiplied by 1.5 and any grades earned in the higher level courses can be multiplied by 1.10 to reflect the final mark on the GPA.

“Encouraging rigor and academic achievement is the business we’re in and I think this achieves that,” said board of education member Rob Reiser.

Some parents were disappointed that grades cannot be weighted retroactively for students who are already taking the most rigorous courses.

“It would be considered not kosher [to do that],” said Dobbs Ferry superintendent Lisa Brady.  “For the kids who have been waiting for something like this, it’s hard to accept that.”

Brady said this dilemma would be inevitable regardless of when the school decided to make the switch, but did remind parents that colleges will recalculate a student’s GPA on its own.  Falino echoed that statement and said colleges will take notice of the student’s selection of curriculum regardless of the GPA.

Weighted grading will be offered in “upper level honors courses” mostly after 10th grade when students are not required to remain on a particular track.

“Any course where there’s choice involved,” Falino said.

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