ICCSD removes plus and minus modifiers from all grades

With an overall less amount of schoolwork, the district decided to remove the plus and minus portion of grades this trimester.

Kailey Gee, Print News Editor

Recently, the Iowa City Community School District has gotten rid of all plus and minus grade notations for this trimester. Therefore, an A+ and A- will become an A, a B+ and B- will become a B, etc. With teachers only permitted to give students three hours worth of assignments each week, the district felt there was not enough data to denote differences between a plus or a minus.

“When you consider that the traditional grading scale has 13 variations (A+ to F), one would be hard pressed to develop a rubric that would delineate 13 levels of performance on a full trimester basis, let alone a shortened six week course,” said Diane Schumacher, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for the ICCSD.  “If you base grades solely on points, given the reduced assignments, one or two questions might be the difference between one letter grade and another.”

The new rule was suggested by a group of district administrators. Afterwords, it was approved by secondary administrators. While the update was enacted in mid-April, many students are just now seeing a change in Powerschool as teachers update their grades for the end of the year.

“Please understand that this was a temporary adjustment that was made during this pandemic time.  In the fall, grades will go back to including + and – options.  It might also be a good time to remind students that a + or – does not impact a GPA in our district.  A B-, B and B+ all earn a 3.0 GPA,” Schumacher said.