The following is an extended version of my comments/response to blog post by The Charlotte Observer's Education journalist Ann Doss Helms 'Push is on to change N. C. grading scale':
My district posts the "number grade" on transcripts, but obviously follows the State grading-scale. I believe it is beneficial and more of a true indicator to use numbers as "official" final grades, but it could put students at a disadvantage when competing for scholarships and acceptance into colleges when their peers (from other LEA's) use letters.
Pretend we're finalists for a scholarship: I have a "93" for AP Calculus and you have an "A" for the same course in your transcript. You're grade could have ranged from 92.5 (simple rules of rounding to the nearest whole number) - 100%, but there's no way for the viewer to know. Who's at the advantage/disadvantage?
Remember the 'Chicago Math' grading scale? Growing up in Michigan, an 'A' in high school math courses ranged from 85-100. Yes, an '85' was an A! I majored in Secondary Math Education and was a very strong math student, but that grading scale even allowed me to slide a bit, while still earning my indisputable 'A' to which I strongly desired.
As far as changing the grading scale: The primary concern should not be the values; The focus needs to be on the rigor of the class and the quality of instruction taking place. These are much more important to the success of our students to be globally competitive.
Instructional rigor varies from teacher-to-teacher, school-to-school. Professional Learning Communities, common assessments, Co-teaching Models, and flipped classrooms (not to mention Common Core and Essential Standards) have successfully bridged instruction to similar congruency (and higher accountability), but no two classrooms are exactly alike.
Let's emphasize the learning, not the grade.
Thanks for reading,