More than just a letter

The difference between an A and an A-minus comes down to a point or two in most local high schools.

But that cutoff is different for each school. At Center Grove High School, for example, students who score between 93 and 100 percent in their classes receive an A and get an A-minus for scores between 90 and 92 percent. At Greenwood Community High School, students with grades between 95 and 100 percent get A’s, while scores between 90 and 94 percent equal A-minuses.

Students at Indian Creek High School earn a grade of B-plus for scores as high as 92 percent.

Those grades also make a difference in students’ grade-point averages. The Center Grove student who earns a 94 percent in a Center Grove class receives a 4.0, while the Greenwood student with the same score receives a 3.67.

In recent years, some local schools have moved away from using only the highest GPAs to determine student honors. Franklin and Whiteland Community High Schools, for example, now recognize more students at the end of each school year with high GPAs, instead of the top two or 10.

And now, some school officials are looking for other ways they can make grades say more about how well a student is doing in school. That includes providing more information about how much a student understands in a course than just assigning a single letter grade.

At Whiteland, school officials are considering ways to provide parents and students with a more comprehensive report of how well a student has done in a class and what skills they still need to improve, assistant superintendent John Schilawski said.

Clark-Pleasant’s youngest students, in kindergarten through fourth grade, receive more detailed report cards, specifying what lessons they know and which concepts they still need to learn. School officials are considering whether they can create similar report cards for Clark-Pleasant students once they advance to fifth grade at the intermediate school, Schilawski said.

The eventual goal is for the school district to be able to provide more details about how much a student knows than a single letter grade can reflect, Schilawski said.

“They are an approximation of reality,” Schilawski said. “They are not an exact copy of reality.”

The tradition of assigning students grades of A through F for their assignments and overall class grades isn’t ending, but some schools are putting less weight on just those grades and the GPAs that come with them.

The grade-point averages students receive based on their letter grades determine their class rank, and at most schools are still used to select the valedictorian and salutatorian. That’s no longer the case at Franklin, which instead honors all of the students who receive a specified grade-point average. Whiteland still has a valedictorian and salutatorian but stopped ranking its top 10 students because school officials didn’t want students to take easier classes in order to raise their grade-point average.

Colleges and universities know that different high schools have different grading scales that can affect students’ grade-point averages, Schilawski and Franklin assistant principal Leah Wooldridge said. That’s why colleges also review students’ SAT and ACT scores, extracurricular activities, community service and other factors, they said.

At a glance

Here are the grades a student can earn from local  high schools if they receive between 90 percent and 100 percent in a course:

Center Grove

93-100 percent: A

90-92 percent: A-minus


98-100 percent: A-plus

93-97 percent: A

91-92 percent: A-minus

88-90 percent: B-plus


100 percent: A-plus

92-99 percent: A

90-91 percent: A-minus


95-100 percent: A

90-94 percent: A-minus

Indian Creek

99-100 percent: A-plus

95-98 percent: A

93-94 percent: A-minus

91-92 percent: B-plus


93-100 percent: A

90-92 percent: A-minus