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Setting the record straight on Easthampton grade standards

To the editor:

I write to clarify that Easthampton High School sets clear grading standards designed to promote learning, communicate progress and recognize achievement.

At Easthampton High School a 75 is a C and a grade of 60 to 69 is a D — a 56 is a failing grade. Despite those facts, you chose to run a letter “Lower grade standards don’t help students” that began with an altogether different and inaccurate claim that Easthampton High School has set 56 as its new C grade.

While there is merit to a serious discussion of how grading standards influence achievement, such a discussion should proceed from an accurate account of what we have done.

The Easthampton School Committee did approve a change in our grading system to achieve consistency and promote equity. We voted not to fail a student with a grade of 60 to 64 — instead that level of achievement will earn the student a D. Establishing the range for A’s (90-100), B’s (80-89), C’s (70-79) and D’s (60-69), not only ensures consistency, it also allows students who need to receive assistance to gain that help from a foundation of credit rather than failure. That distinction improves retention and retention improves academic growth — retention and growth are essential to improving the learning experience and academic performance of our students.

In short, Easthampton High School’s consistent grading standards help make Easthampton schools great places to learn and grow.

Peter Gunn

Easthampton

Peter Gunn is chairman of the Easthampton School Committee.

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