|By Zee on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 11:36 pm: Edit|
My school does not rank, but includes a distribution of unweighted GPA's with the school profile. However, as you may expect, this is heavily biased towards students who are in "lower" classes. As a result, we have an end-of-junior-year award for the top 10% of the class based on "Grades and Couseload - Weighted GPA". I receieved this award and my counsellor says that he will mark 'top 10% (we only do deciles) on the school report. However, on that unweighted gpa sheet i am closer to the 40th percentile of the small (60p) class. Which ranking will colleges use?
|By Dadster on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 08:15 am: Edit|
It depends on the college, of course, but if your counselor notes that you are taking a demanding schedule and that your weighted rank would put you in the top 10%, I think most schools would lean in that direction. Just about every application has a place for "Awards and Honors" - just to make the point, be sure to include your "Top Ten Percent" award on that list.
|By Dadster on Wednesday, October 31, 2001 - 10:08 am: Edit|
BTW, this situation is a dramatic example of the importance of weighting grades. One of the common statements by school administrators when they argue against weighted grades is that, "The kids taking the advanced classes are usually at the top of the rankings anyway." This is a clear illustration of the heavy penalty that can be paid by a student taking advanced classes in an unweighted ranking system.
|By ThePrincipal on Thursday, November 01, 2001 - 04:37 pm: Edit|
I think it's pretty uncommon that a student would be in the top 10% with weighted grades but just a little over the median with unweighted grades. Usually, students that take all of the advanced classes still take a mix of "regular" classes and almost always pull "A" grades in those. The situation described by Zee sounds like a indication of massive grade inflation for the regular classes if there are that many students that rank ahead of him unweighted. Or, Zee may be taking some advanced courses that he's struggling in.
Sometimes, teachers of advanced classes compensate for unweighting by grading more easily, too. There's not much they can do with an "A", but it's common to see others bumped up a letter grade to avoid penalizing students who attempt the more difficult material. I don't know how that would work with the system Zee describes.
|By Dadster on Tuesday, November 06, 2001 - 10:24 pm: Edit|
The problem with unweighted grades and teachers giving those in advanced classes a higher letter grade is that it compresses the top level grades - there's no way to distinguish the outstanding student from the "B" students who get upgraded. Also, while this is reducing the risk of taking an advanced class and getting a lower grade, it still is providing no grading upside potential. That is, the student who takes the advanced class has no opportunity to pull a better grade than the "A" he will most likely get if he takes the easier class.
|By Molly on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 09:57 pm: Edit|
My school does not have weighted grades, and unlike what ThePrincipal said about advanced course teachers being lenient, mine are the exact opposite. They grade MUCH harder because they expect more from us, which I agree with, but at least for me it's really upsetting when it's nearly impossible to get an A and the smarter students in the regular classes get A+'s easily, completely changing the ranks of my class around. Every year there is a top 10% awards ceremony and NEVER has an honors student been to it.
|By Dadster on Wednesday, December 12, 2001 - 09:45 am: Edit|
Your school's situation is pretty awful, Molly, much worse than most schools that lack weighted grades. It seems bizarre that the students taking the advanced classes would be shut out of the top rankings, since usually there are a few who will ace any class, regardless of difficulty. It might be time for the parents of honor students to get involved with the administration or the school board. If the school board is elected, they may fear bad publicity. You getting involved personally could be dangerous to your GPA if the teachers take offense, or, if you are successful in getting things changed, it could be a great essay topic for your college apps. Good luck.
|By college-mom on Thursday, December 13, 2001 - 11:20 am: Edit|
Molly, you're in a tough spot. Do seniors at your high school have a hard time getting into selective colleges? I would imagine that they do. It makes no sense to reward kids who don't challenge themselves and penalize those who do. Most schools want to do whatever they can to make their graduates competitive in college admissions, and it sounds like it's time for someone to approach your school's administration about all this--I agree with Dadster. Maybe a parent could survey some of your neighboring, better high schools to see how they handle weighting/GPAs/class rank, etc., before approaching either the principal or the guidance department.
Even though some highly selective colleges do recompute GPAs based upon your school profile, this isn't going to help at all with the class rank issue, where they have to accept what the school gives them. And class rank is very important at many schools.
At our local high school, the published 'honor rolls' are based upon unweighted grades, and quite often some of the best students don't show up at the 'highest honors' level. This is OK, because honor rolls are mainly for local consumption and give some of the kids in less challenging tracks a chance to be recognized for their good work. However, class rank is based upon weighted GPA computations, and this is what counts come senior year. (And on the official school transcript, both unweighted and weighted GPA are noted.)
|By Ash on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 12:14 pm: Edit|
Our school is the same way, some people who are at the top of our class are taking very easy math classes. It is said that we have the best math program in Pennsylvania, which is great, except that it is also one of the hardest math programs to do well in especially if you have advanced classes. since it is required that students have at least 4 math credits before they graduate (meaning they would take one every year) some get around this by taking the easier (not less important, but easier) Buisness math classes, or they take as little math as possible, while others are taking pre-cal and statistics Ap their Junior year. Now you would think that the school would award these kids by making the harder math classes worth more.... NOT A CHANCE! WE get the same recognition for doing 2-3 hours of homework a night as the kids who take an hour if even on their math homework. Science is the same way, While I could take the easy way out and take the "Easy A" classes this wouldn't help me in the long run. Now as a junior i am starting to look into colleges and I am afraid that because i am not getting the highest grades in my advanced classes as the students who are in the easier classes some of my colleges will not accept me.
|By Rhonda on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 01:03 pm: Edit|
This is a problem in my child's school as well, significantly more difficult grading in harder classes, no weighting and no ranking (not even identifying decile). Unless the school profile is EXTREMELY CLEAR about grading policies, and somehow manages to convey where the student stands and how difficult his workload was relative to others, the kids who are willing and able to take on more work GET SCREWED!!!! Sorry, can't think of a more delicate way to put it!
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