OMAHA, Neb. — Omaha teachers and administrators have tweaked the oft-criticized grading system once again to make sure grades convey what students know and the level of effort they’ve put into schoolwork.

The latest changes will require students to earn a higher score to receive an A. But it could also make it easier to receive a failing grade, the Omaha World-Herald ( ) reported.

The four-point grading scale was first introduced in 2010 and has since been reworked several times.

The standards-based system is supposed to help teachers assign trades that more accurately reflect whether students have understood the material taught in class. Emphasis is placed more on tests and large projects, and less on homework, behavior and class participation.

“We think it better represents the excellence we demand of our young people,” Assistant Superintendent ReNae Kehrberg said at a May board meeting.

The updated scale will be adopted across Omaha Public Schools for the 2017-2018 year following a field test last fall involving about 12,000 students across different schools, subjects and grade levels.

The test showed that the new scale changed the grade distribution of participating students in the district, with students earning fewer As and Bs and more Cs and Fs.

The repeated changes to the already complex grading system have been difficult for some parents to follow. Some parents have posted on Facebook expressing concern that the scale could lead to more failing grades.

But school officials think that the higher difficulty will push students to strive for higher grades.

“Over time, the committee feels students will rise to the higher standards associated with the field-tested grading scale, thus making students better prepared for future endeavors,” district researcher Chris Fitch said.

Officials encourage schools to prepare for answering questions from confused and upset families.

Information from: Omaha World-Herald,

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.