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Old 06-03-2008, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Chesterfield, VA
1,159 posts, read 3,035,344 times
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It has recently been brought to my attention that (at least) two grass-root efforts (Fairfax County and Spotsylvania County) are underway in Virginia to change the high school grading scale and how GPAs are calculated. Both are utilizing the web to get the information out there (FairGrade for FCPS and SpotsylvaniaCountyGPA - *Current Grading System In Spotsylvania County Negatively Impacts Students!).

I am curious though, what does your county/state do and are you aware that it has been a detriment to college admissions and/or receiving scholarships?

At some point I believe this needs to become a state-wide (if not national) issue, perhaps by putting all high school students on an even footing with a ten-point scale (same as college). What about honors and AP classes? Are they weighted and if so how much?

If you know of any localities or states that have argued this successfully, please post the information here or DM me.

Thanks!
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:22 PM
 
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How grades are calculated can be different not just by county, let alone state, but by school district.

Several years ago when my daughter was starting HS I was on a committee to review and change the way GPA's were calculated. What we ended up with was weighing AP classes with grades over C given a full grade higher - so if you get an A would count not as a 4.0 but as a 5.0, grades under C would are not weighted. Honors classes are weighted a half of a grade higher so a 4.0 in an honors class would count as a 4.5, anything under a C is not given the boost. Regular classes count as standard numbers - 4.0 is a 4.0.

I agree that a national standard would be ideal, but until that happens, colleges are very aware of how schools weight the classes and re-calculate them all. Some colleges throw out freshman year grades, some colleges don't count classes like chorus, band, etc, towards gpa.

High Schools are expected to send in the information about how they calculate grades.
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Old 06-03-2008, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Chesterfield, VA
1,159 posts, read 3,035,344 times
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TooBusy -

Thanks for the info on what happened in your district.

From what I am hearing though, I disagree that the colleges recalculate. I think there are way too many applications for them to do that these days - for instance VA Tech received over 20,000 applications this year. A friend who started this effort in Spotsylvania was told by a Maryland school that they just do not have time to do that. And when the administrator took a minute to recalculate (I have a very insistent friend!), the GPA rose from a 3.2 to a 3.8.

And ironically I just saw in the paper that my county is having a town-hall style meeting on this very subject (http://www.chesterfield.k12.va.us/CCPS/About_CCPS/files/0526%20town%20hall.pdf (broken link)). So I guess school systems do realize there is a disparity out there.
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Old 06-03-2008, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Camberville
7,178 posts, read 8,927,675 times
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100-90= 4.0
89-80= 3.0
79-70= 2.0
69 and below is failing

AP and IB courses all got a 1.0 bump (although failing was still failing) and honors courses were not graded.

It does not affect scholarships because most colleges (certainly every one I visited and applied to) recalculates GPAs. My school system gave me a 4.2GPA for my entire college career. The college I am attending scored me as higher due to honors courses and I got a near full scholarship. Other students got good scholarships if they applied out of state or used the HOPE scholarship to go to UGA or other state schools for free since if you have half a brain, you qualify for it.
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Old 06-03-2008, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Reno, NV
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In California all AP classes get a 1 point bump if you get above a C. The colleges only look at academic courses from your sophomore and junior year.
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Old 06-03-2008, 04:37 PM
 
2,910 posts, read 4,230,739 times
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My second daughter just graduated college, and I've been posting for the last 4 years on a college board with people all across the country and here's what I've learned.

The calculations are basically the same 4.0 scale for regular classes, 5.0 for advanced classes. However, the huge difference is what each school district considers advanced classes. Some count honors, some count AP and some simply count what they call advanced. Since not all schools use the same type classes, and even those classes have levels that also vary, the GPA across the nation is different for it's baseline all over.

Most all major colleges may not actually recalculate GPA's, however they are fully aware of what areas of the nation use what types of basis for their calculations and will take that into consideration. Since GPA's are only a tiny portion of the college admission process it doesn't really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.

Colleges look at such things as what type school you attended, what types of courses you took, volunteer hours/type and use your essays and interviews along with that GPA.
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Old 06-03-2008, 05:07 PM
 
847 posts, read 2,425,981 times
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Although I will not say that all colleges recalculate every GPA that they receive, I am confident (and I am a college counselor) that they get everyone on the same playing field when they are reviewing the applications. I would not worry about that.
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Old 06-03-2008, 07:58 PM
 
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Hmm. In Palm Beach County Florida, regular classes are:

90-100 - A - 4
80-89 - B - 3
70-79 - C - 2
60-69 - D - 1
59 - F - 0

But, honors classes have the 4/3/2/1 multiplied by 1.125, so an A would be a 4.5. But AP classes get multiplied by 1.5, so an A in an AP class would be a 6 and a B would be a 4.5!

You don't have to get a C for that to apply, either. Certainly makes things look inflated.
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Old 06-04-2008, 10:54 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,652 posts, read 4,957,292 times
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At my high school, AP and IB courses were weighted with 1 additional point and honors courses were weighted. .25. I ended up graduating with a

As a college counselor, I dislike weighting. It increases the competition and in some ways, hinders students when it comes to college admissions. When there are 500 students in a graduating class, adding one point for the AP and IB courses ends up creating ties for Valedictorian and Salutatorian and I think that completely takes away from the awards. Some schools even take GPAs out to 4 or 5 decimal places so there are no ties.

There was one high school in the city that my mom grew up in their converted GPAs to the numerical scale and I personally think that ranking and weighting GPAs this way is slightly better. What they did for AP courses was multiply the semester grade by 10% and then add that back to the grade. Honors courses were not weight (which I completely agree with). So, if one had an 87 in AP US History the semester grade would in actuality be a 95.7. One thing of note is that this particular school did not recognize a Valedictorian or Salutatorian. The instead recognized the top 5%.

However, I think that for the competitive high schools that send their students to top colleges, ranking is pointless because the elite college generally prefer the unweighted GPA.

I had 23 students in my AP Calculus course this past semester. Of the 23, 16 had A's, 4 had B's. and 3 had C's. All of these kids were basically on the same level and ranking them against each other is not healthy.
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Old 06-04-2008, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,652 posts, read 4,957,292 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hypocore View Post
My second daughter just graduated college, and I've been posting for the last 4 years on a college board with people all across the country and here's what I've learned.

The calculations are basically the same 4.0 scale for regular classes, 5.0 for advanced classes. However, the huge difference is what each school district considers advanced classes. Some count honors, some count AP and some simply count what they call advanced. Since not all schools use the same type classes, and even those classes have levels that also vary, the GPA across the nation is different for it's baseline all over.

Most all major colleges may not actually recalculate GPA's, however they are fully aware of what areas of the nation use what types of basis for their calculations and will take that into consideration. Since GPA's are only a tiny portion of the college admission process it doesn't really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.

Colleges look at such things as what type school you attended, what types of courses you took, volunteer hours/type and use your essays and interviews along with that GPA.

That is false, GPA and class rank (or the decile) are extremely important. There are no two factors that are more important than these.
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