GPA, Class Rank, and moving toward weighted grades.

Good morning, Parents.

Since we have continued our discussions about GPA and class rank following the message that was shared back in November, we would like to share how our thinking has progressed. I think it is somewhat noteworthy that the initial message on this topic generated by far the most responses from parents, in the form of email replies and phone calls, than any other weekly blog. I received about 20 contacts from people sharing their opinions and every one of these people were in support of the concept of factoring strength of schedule into the GPA calculation and class rank. Most simply believed it would make the calculation and resulting class rankings more equitable, many agreed with our objective to have a systematic reinforcement or encouragement to taking our most challenging classes, and some even pointed out in rather specific terms how this change would serve college bound students better as they pursued college offered scholarships such as Presidential Scholarships.

We have also surveyed the conference schools, and in that process we learned that this is a topic that many schools are considering—although most are going a far different direction with eliminating class rank in favor of a Laude system more like colleges. Our motivation in making changes is to systematically encourage students to take more demanding courses that we know will help them prepare for the future. The more we think about how to accomplish that specific goal, the more we focus on weighted grades for dual credit/college prep classes. More specifically, we are thinking about calculating GPA’s for weighted classes based on a five point scale rather than the normal four point scale. (Weighted classes: A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2 as compared to normal classes at A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1) This directly addresses student’s strength of schedule and it provides a pretty strong incentive to take the most challenging classes. It may be interesting for parents to know that our highest ranked students, on average, have taken less than half of our dual credit/college prep classes. This fact has been pretty consistently true of both our top ten students and top twenty students. That simply does not make sense in terms of taking classes that will best prepare students for the future, and by far the biggest reason we hear is that students are concerned about their GPA/rank. Weighted grades would directly address that reality.

We are also concluding as we discuss this topic in greater depth that including an ACT score in class rank would get weird and confusing. While we believe that increasing students college and career readiness scores (both Aspire and ACT) is a huge priority, this is not the place to interject that factor. When we break down this idea, we would not be able to put an ACT score calculation into GPA, but we could put it into class rank. However, if our GPA’s and our class rank did not match up, that would be confusing to many people. This is why we have concluded that including it in rank would be confusing.

Once again, we welcome your thoughts and feedback as we continue this discussion. Our general timeline would be to recommend a policy change to include weighted grades sometime this spring (before the course registration process), and this policy change would be first implemented with the current freshmen class. Since students do not take classes that are weighted prior to their sophomore year, this would allow us to clearly communicate these changes before the student’s and parent’s make decisions that would impact them in this regard. We certainly do not want to change the rules of the game in the middle of the game, that would not be fair, so that is why the changes would first apply to the current freshmen.

Have a great week,
Scott


 

February–

Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
15
Driver Ed.
forms available in the HS office
16
17
Girl’s BB v. RL (home)
18
Trap Shooting team meeting at 10:30 in
the ME room.
19
Boy’s BB v. CG (home)
Voice Auditions
20
Girl’s BB @ SL
Voice Auditions
21
Wr. Sectional–Milw. Lutheran 9:30 start.

Girl’s BB @ Ply.