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Menlo parents submit report about the school’s grading policy

After a report was submitted about Menlo's grading policy, a committee appointed by Upper School Director will analyze this policy during the summer. Screen grab from the Morehead family's official report.

By Baily Deeter

On May 10, 2017, two current Menlo parents, Dan and Devon Morehead, submitted a report to Head of School Than Healy and Upper School Director John Schafer regarding Menlo’s grading policy. The eight-page report included charts, graphs, and statistics that support the argument that Menlo students would expect to get much higher GPAs at supposedly similarly competitive schools such as Sacred Heart Prep, Harker, Castilleja, and Choate (a boarding school on the east coast).

The key argument of the report is that a Menlo student with an average GPA (a 3.63 GPA) would expect a GPA of 3.9 or higher at all four of these other competitive schools. The report states that this data was calculated by predicting what GPA students would get at these various schools based off of their SAT scores. The sources for the data breaking down GPAs and SAT scores into quintiles at all five of these schools are the individual school profiles provided by each of the five schools.

Specifically in comparison to Sacred Heart, the data indicates that a student in the lowest quintile in terms of SAT scores at Menlo would be in the third (middle) quintile at Sacred Heart. “If it is true that Menlo and Sacred Heart have similar college placement results, Menlo is not maximizing the potential of their much stronger cohort,” the report states.

In response to this report, Menlo will undergo a thorough analysis of its grading policy with the ultimate goal of making it as logical and as fair as possible. “I have enlisted our data guru Lauren Lax to lead our efforts to analyze this report,” Upper School Director John Schafer said. “I have also formed a small committee whose charge this summer is to look at all the related issues the report raises [...] and plan the school’s communications on a host of issues: grades, college admissions, and the purpose and value of a Menlo education.”

As the administration delves into these issues over the summer, stay tuned for the findings from Lax and from the committee. The Coat of Arms will cover this story in more depth at the very beginning of the 2017-18 school year.
 

1 Comment

  • “….data was calculated by predicting what GPA students would get at these various schools based off of their SAT scores…”. There’s a fundamental fraud with this calculation as it does not account for factors other than test scores, e.g., turning in h/w on time, participation in class, earning extra credits…. which are routinely part of the class grade.

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