Graphic by Helen Qian
Grade A Scandal: MCPS grading policies raise concerns
MCPS has recently come under fire for allegedly inflating the grades of its students by altering the semester grading policy in 2015. The altered policy reversed the former downward trend grade calculation with a quality point mathematical grade calculation, and the number of As and Bs students have received in the ensuing school years has risen exponentially. Whether or not the rise in higher semester grades is an unintended consequence or a deliberate goal of the altered grading system is the mystery this investigation sought to solve. The Washington Post recently investigated this issue, concluding that MCPS is guilty of grade inflation and urging action to be taken.
Over the course of the past six months, we have looked into numerous sources of information, with our most prominent source being interviews around the local community. We have conducted a total of 42 interviews, many of which feature students, teachers and even school board members. We also looked through online data of MCPS grade trends, MCPS standardized testing score and RM’s school profile for college admissions. Since the issue of grade inflation has also recently come into the spotlight in the news media, we were able to obtain more information from both local and national news outlets. Additionally, we filed public record requests for more specific data regarding MCPS grades and sent emails to multiple college counselors requesting an interview about the subject; however, all of these requests did not receive a reply.