Mount Olive School District in New Jersey is implementing a somewhat controversial new grading policy this year aimed towards raising standards and prompting student to work harder – they’ve eliminated ‘D’ grades. The only grades now available to students are A’s, B’s, C’s and F’s. Larrie Reynolds, superintendent, explained that students should not receive credit for a class that they did D-level work in.

There are, of course, strong opinions on both sides. Parents and teachers have high hopes that the new policy will push students to work towards the ‘C,’ knowing that if they don’t, they will fail. Hopefully, this new policy will also create more prepared college students; since students will have to receive at least a 70 in a class in order to pass it, they will hopefully retain more of the information instead of just “getting by.” Students are split in their opinions, with some frustrated and worried that they may not be able to reach the ‘C’ cutoff, and some agreeing that a ‘D’ is simply not an acceptable grade.

There is one possibility that is concerning – grade inflation. Is it possible that ‘D’ work will be graded as ‘C’ work, and ‘F’ work will remain the same? Failing a class can be devastating for a student; it can mean repeating a class, staying back a grade, summer or night school, or even not graduating. Will teachers choose to pass students who are getting high 60’s with a ‘C’ because they don’t want to fail the student? Is it possible that the school will appear to have students with a higher GPA’s when those students are actually performing at lower standards?

Hopefully, the school will keep up its high standards and not allow grade inflation to occur. If the policy affects students as planned, Mount Olive will end up with a group of students that, despite failing a few things along the way, are more prepared for college and understand that anything less than ‘C’ work is just not satisfactory.