Round Rock ISD eliminates ‘D’ from grading scale to help athletes

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ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — A change is coming to high school transcripts in the Round Rock Independent School District.

Starting this school year, the administration has decided to eliminate “D” from its letter grading scale.

Current grading scaleNew grading scale
A 90-100A 90-100
B 80-89B 80-89
C 75-79C 70-79
D 70-74F Below 70
F Below 70Source: RRISD

A grade in the low 70s will no longer be classified as a “D.” The student will now get a “C” which represents all grades in the 70s. Any grade below 70 is still an “F.”

A student’s grade point average and class rank will still be calculated the same.

The district says it decided to make the change to help student-athletes and match a “common practice” of schools and districts around the country.

The NCAA uses the letter grades to calculate eligibility and scholarships.

RRISD Executive Director of Communications Corey Ryan says those letters can hold different value from school district to school district, and the old grading system is putting some of their students at a disadvantage.

“Students were getting punished if they got a “D” even if it was an equivalent of a “C” in another district,” said Ryan. “Or if another district had already gotten rid of the “D.”

The athletics department told the administration about the issue.

“We want to give our students every competitive advantage possible for entering college,” said RRISD Senior Chief of Schools and Innovation Dr. Daniel Presley.

Administrators signed off on the change, but the idea does not sit well with a RRISD graduate who went onto play college basketball at the University of Texas.

“You’re kind of setting people up for failure,” said A.J. Abrams who went to McNeil High School. “If you get a D and you can’t play that’s your own fault.”

If a student is barely passing in high school, Abrams says the chances of them succeeding at the college level juggling sports and academics is slim.

“Go get an A,” said Abrams. “The same amount of work that you put in for your sport, do the same thing with the classroom and you’ll be so much better off.”

Round Rock ISD says this is not about lowering expectations, but rather leveling the playing field.

“We wanted to put them on even par with their peers,” said Ryan.Have other Central Texas school districts changed the grading scale?

KXAN checked with the larger school districts in Central Texas to see if they have moved to a similar grading scale. Austin ISD and the Lake Travis ISD no longer use a “D” grade on transcripts.

The Pflugerville and Leander ISDs continue to use a “D” grading scale.

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