|By Hoosier on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 01:05 am: Edit|
My high school has unweighted grades. This means that some kids take all easy courses and end up with the highest GPAs. This doesn't seem fair to me, since scholarships and awards are based on class rank. Are there some good arguments to try to convice the administration to think about weighting grades?
|By David Hawsey on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 07:57 am: Edit|
At most colleges, scholarships and awards are based on factors such as grade-point average, standardized test scores, or a combination of the two. You are right to be concerned about your school not weighting your GPA. However, keep in mind two things:
1. Most colleges will re-weight your grades anyway. Be sure to include a copy of your school's "profile" in your application, a document or brochure that explains the high school grading policy, what is considered academic credit, etc. This helps the admissions office make sense of the school's grading and ranking policies. Ask each college how they will re-weight your grades, if at all. Some give more weight to AP and honors classes than others.
2. The transcript itself tells us a lot. If many students take "easy" courses and get straight "A's" (a 4.0, for example), and you took challenging courses and ended up with a 3.75 GPA, and had a few AP classes, two thoughts come to mind. First, your GPA could end up higher or at least the same as the other student who took easy classes. Second, at some colleges, the other student may not even be accepted!
We know how to spot the student who took easy classes versus those who challenged themselves. At Albion College (where I work) I prefer the student who tested him/herself. And the most important advice I can give is this: Stay in touch with the admissions counselor assigned to your region of the country. We are your advocate, not just a "gatekeeper." Give us a call before you set up the next semester's classes and ask the admissions staff at each college you are interested in: "How do you view the classes I'm taking this semester? Do they help or hurt my chances of being accepted, and for winning scholarships? What grades do I have to get in each class to stay "on track?"
Don't worry about ranking, either. Many colleges don't think much about ranking in high schools. Why? There are over 80,000 high school districts in the United States. It is impossible to view how one school teaches and ranks in any fair way against another school. And once you get to college, ranking has no place in your life anymore. Why? You are not competing against other students: you are pushing yourself to achieve what you can for your life and career, not against others in your college class, but in partnership with your professors and other students. Once at college, you are all on the journey together!
|By Hoosier on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 09:35 am: Edit|
Wow! Thanks for the quick and in-depth response, DH!!!
I'm not worried about whether unweighted grades will hurt me at admissions time, tho I had a friend who was bumped out of the top 10% by a bunch of slackers with good GPA's. Our school has scholarships and awards that are handed out purely on class rank. Some people taking AP's and honors classes who get a few B's miss out every year.
Another school where I know some kids had something like ten or twenty valedictorians. That's out of control.
|By IndianaToo on Thursday, August 30, 2001 - 05:31 pm: Edit|
Hoosier, our school has the same setup as yours - no weighting, but rank-based recognition for some things. Must be an Indiana phenomenon. It's pretty frustrating to see less qualified kids walk away with awards and honors because they took the easy courses.
I'm hoping to lobby the school board to change this. (I'm a parent.) I know other parents and students feel the same way about this. I'd be curious as to some of the pro & con arguments I'm likely to encounter. Has anyone been through this kind of battle before? Any comments are welcome.
|By Roger (Roger) on Sunday, September 02, 2001 - 07:08 pm: Edit|
Wow - sounds like a grade-weighting revolt is building in Hoosierland! Not a moment too soon, as far as I'm concerned.
IT, there are some pretty common pro/con arguments that one tends to hear. I'll mention a few, but would welcome others to join in on either side of the issue.
Con: While weighting does enable the students with heavy AP/honors schedules to pull away from their less-challenged counterparts, it can turn the race for honors like valedictorian into a contest of "how many weighted classes can I take, and how many unweighted ones can I avoid?" Students even employ strategies like taking a class at a local college (which doesn't count in their GPA) if the HS counterpart is unweighted. Clearly, this isn't the kind of behavior one wants to encourage, although my guess is that the vast majority of students don't bother with these machinations.
Another con argument is that it tends to favor students who carry heavy math/science loads, which often have more honors and AP classes than, say, art and music. (I'm pleased to see this changing a bit - our local HS just made Jazz Ensemble a for-credit, honors course, with auditions required and mandatory sessions a couple of times a week. Not only does it reward the kids who participate, but the level of musicianship has really improved.) The flip side of the argument is, of course, are art and music courses as demanding as math and science?
One of the goofier arguments I've heard (call it the Joe Biden defense) is that average kids need to have a chance at being valedictorian, too. Go figure.
For pro arguments, you have already raised one biggie: fairness in class ranking and awards. In addition, weighting goes to the issue of motivation. While many students will automatically choose the most challenging class available, there are certainly others who hold back and play it safe. With the incentive of weighting, they know that they will get extra GPA credit if they do well, and, even if they score lower, will probably still break even on the GPA tradeoff.
I'm in favor of weighting - I think schools need to do whatever they can to encourage kids to take challenging courses, and to avoid penalizing them for trying something that might be a bit of a stretch.
|By GFI on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 09:53 pm: Edit|
Is there any evidence that suggests that weighting or not weighting affects the course choices that students make, or their performance in the courses?
|By Dadster on Sunday, October 14, 2001 - 01:26 pm: Edit|
I haven't seen any organized research on the topic, but I've certainly seen some students choose easier courses to get an A - and they are totally open about it. They don't want to risk a "B" when they can take the lower level course for a guaranteed (almost) "A".
|By Roger (Roger) on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 03:19 pm: Edit|
Here's a link I found to an essay that suggests that weighting grades is beneficial to students: The Case for Weighting Grades and Waiving Classes for Gifted and Talented High School Students.
A key quote: "For weighting grades, the cumulative advantages of equity for students, the importance of encouraging students to take honors and AP classes, the fact that simple, unweighted GPA may place students at a disadvantage for college admissions and/or scholarship awards indicate that high schools should weight grades."
|By Dadster on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 09:44 am: Edit|
Good article. Unfortunately, many adminstrators feel that grades are there to reward effort, rather than achievement in absolute terms. If you buy into this philosophy (I don't!), you would then conclude that average kids taking average courses are being treated unfairly, since they can't get as high a grade as the kids in the weighted advanced class.
Certainly effort should be given recognition when due, but performance against absolute standards is clearly the most important measure. Are they going to make the basketball coach start the kids who work hardest during practice?
|By burningman on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 05:40 pm: Edit|
Dadster, here's an article that espouses the viewpoint you mention - it's in the Kennebunk HS paper. Gotta love this quote:
"The most blatant injustice that I can think of is decreasing a studentís esteem by putting him into a system where the naturally gifted are triumphant."
I wish I had gone to HS there - I might have made the track team! I presume they equip the faster kids with sufficient ankle weights to allow everyone to compete on an equal footing.
|By Mary Andracchio on Friday, December 14, 2001 - 12:55 pm: Edit|
For a probability and statistics class that i am taking we have to do an end of the term project. I, with a partner, chose to do ours on class rank and whether or not this is effected by the classes that you take. In our school some of the kids at the top of our class take the "Easy A Classes". We want to prove that this is true and have handed out surveys to do that. The other part of our project is a report written about this issue. We were wondering if anyone knew of any sites or any information that could help us?
Anything would be greatly appreciated, Thanks
|By Roger (Roger) on Friday, December 14, 2001 - 01:49 pm: Edit|
Hi, Mary, and welcome to College Confidential! Check out the "Case for Weighting Grades" link above for starters. Also, here's another article about weighting grades: Weighted Grades Pose Dilemmas in Some Schools.
Good luck with your project, and be sure to come back and describe your findings!
|By Mary on Monday, December 17, 2001 - 11:16 pm: Edit|
Thankz, that was a help, we still wanted to know if anyone knows of any research done out there in this field?
|By 1sttimecollegemom on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 03:57 pm: Edit|
Hoosier....Doesn't Indiana have a state-wide "honors diploma" available for those students having taken a harder course load? I think it also awards a monetary scholarship to any student who attends a university in the state. I know I was very jealous of this when I read about it and was wondering if I could sneak my child over the IL/IN boarder for school some 9 miles away. Because my son is in the very same situation. Currently salutatorian behind a young lady who seems to be concentrating on the home ec/sewing catagories instead of the upper level studies. Good luck to you!
|By Roger (Roger) on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 - 09:08 pm: Edit|
Yes, 1sttimecollegemom, Indiana does have an "Academic Honors Diploma", and most or all high schools offer a track that allows students to meet the requirements. Here's a summary of the requirements for the Honors diploma.
Recipients may get extra aid at in-state schools. In this time of "dumbed down" requirements, it's good to see the state rewarding more rigorous course loads.
If you want to relocate, 1sttime, consider Georgia instead of Indiana. The weather is better, and their Hope scholarship program is the keystone in the nation's most generous aid plan.
|By Linda Rome on Monday, January 07, 2002 - 08:16 pm: Edit|
I am new here and thought I would "weigh" in on this topic. I have a bit of a different take on weighted grades. My son is currently a college senior and attends a large urban public school. His graduating class is 465. The school is highly regarded but only offers a few AP classes and no honors classes. They do offer classes that are labled "advanced" and classes for gifted and talented. They do not weight grades at all. At the beginning of this year, there were 20 students with a 4.0, my son being one of them.
For the most part, my son has taken the most difficult classes available with a couple of noted exceptions. He took Adv. Pre-calc. his sophmore year and did very well. However he decided not to pursue calculus. The reason for this is because he is an exceptionally talented musician. His goal is to go into music performance. At the end of his sophmore year, he was trying to find a way to increase his practice time. With his current homework load, he could only manage 90 minutes a day most of the time. Calculus was going to increase his homework time and decrease available practice time. So he chose to drop math and give himself more time to practice. He also is taking a half load first semester this year so that he can practice for 2 hours before he goes to school each day to prepare for his auditions. He then does another 1-2 after school.
Many people are surprised that he can maintain his grades and still spend about 25 hours each week outside of school with music activities. His choices were not made based on making sure he got all A's, but to allow him to reach his goals. If grades were weighted, he would still be in top 5% but may not be #1. However, are his accomplishments any less because he has chosen to master an instrument instead of choosing to continue on in math?
Neither of us really care if he is a val or not. He has his goals and is well on his way to accomplishing them and that is what is important. However, I think that it is too simplistic to say that kids avoid difficult classes just to keep up the GPA. By not weighting grades, schools allow students to have a little more flexibility in the choices they are able to make while still maintaining high academic standards.
|By Dave Berry on Tuesday, January 08, 2002 - 09:04 am: Edit|
>>My son is currently a college senior...<<
(Linda, obviously, you mean "high school" senior.) I have a few questions for you:
- Where has your son applied to college?
- To what colleges do the top graduates from your son's high school go?
- What instrument does your son play?
Thanks for your answers and welcome to College Confidential.
|By Linda Rome on Tuesday, January 08, 2002 - 11:05 am: Edit|
Sorry Dave - your right, I mean a high school senior, getting a little ahead of myself here.
He has applied to 4 schools - Rice, Eastman, New England Conservatory, and Cleveland Institute of Music.
Last year's top seniors are currently attending Yale, Middlebury, Chicago, Carleton, Cornell, Tufts, Northwestern, Grinnell, Luther, Beloit, and a good chunk to UW-Madison. (We live in Wisconsin) A smattering of others as well. Not all are attending Tier 1, or even Tier 2 schools. Some are attending other state schools.
He plays the cello.
Thank you for you welcome. I look forward to participating further.
|By Dave Berry on Tuesday, January 08, 2002 - 04:41 pm: Edit|
Linda, to the casual observer, Rice might appear to be the odd-man-out candidate. What motivated your son to include Rice along with three well-known music schools? A certain cello professor? A particular program? 'Just curious.
|By Dadster on Tuesday, January 08, 2002 - 08:09 pm: Edit|
Hi, Linda. Our HS doesn't have weighted grades, but they have made a few of the music courses (that have somewhat competitive entry and moderately demanding performance schedules) honors classes. Presumably, if they instituted weighted grades such classes would enable music oriented students to bypass a math or science class and not impact their GPA relative to other students.
Call me old fashioned, but I think if you want to be considered the top student at a school, a mix of the highest level math, science, and liberal arts classes should be part of the mix. Unweighted grades just make it too easy for students to bypass all challenging classes, or whole groups of them (e.g., math/science) and rank at the top.
|By Linda Rome on Tuesday, January 08, 2002 - 08:13 pm: Edit|
Actually, Rice is his top choice, for several reasons. A lot of folks don't know this, but several professional musicians we spoke with felt that the Shepard School has one of the strongest undergraduate strings programs in the country, and they are very strong in cello. He spent last summer studying with a Rice professor and really liked him and his overall approach. Also, 3 summers ago he was at Interlochen. They had a different guest conductor each week for 8 weeks. One of those conductors was the conductor from Rice and my son thought he was far and away the best conductor he had had all summer, even better than some very famous conductors, so he would like to continue working with him as well. Finally, he likes the idea of not being exclusively with music people, of being able to easily take classes outside of music, and generally attend a college rather than a conservatory. He hates Houston, however, and wishes that Rice was located in Boston!
I think that Rice is not always thought of for music because in addition to passing the audition, you have to be very academically strong as well. I think students often feel that they would not be admitted. My overall sense is that if students pass the audition and are admitted to Shepard, they only have to be in the ball park academically, not necessarily at the top of the heap.
Also, as a side note, Shepard has marvelous facilities, the best we have seen anywhere. It looks like a great place to spend 4 years.
|By Dave Berry on Tuesday, January 08, 2002 - 08:55 pm: Edit|
That's a great rationale for Rice, Linda. I like your son's desire to be with a broader range of students, not just arts types.
Two years ago, I counseled a young man from Wyoming who is also an accomplished cellist. He was accepted at Peabody, Curtis, and a few other prestigious conservatories, but he enrolled at Stanford. Sounds a bit like your son.
Best wishes for his success at Rice. Please let us know how things turn out.
|By Sandy on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 04:46 pm: Edit|
Has anyone had any experience with this issue? My son's high school weights the honors/advanced courses. However, the grade point is figured on academic courses only, so P.E. and Band, while graded, are not used to calculate the grade point. Students have 8 periods to fill. That means you could take 6 academic courses and 2 non-academic in one semester, or perhaps 8 academic courses and no non-academic (after you get past the required P.E. in the first 2 years). Two students who take the same number of weighted courses and receive the same grades will not have the same gradepoint if one took only two other academic classes and the other took four academic courses. For example, an "A" in a weighted course is 5.0, while in a non-weighted course it is 4.0. If both students get all A's, one will have a 4.67 average by taking 4 weighted courses and 2 non-weighted academic courses and band and P.E. The other will have a 4.5 average by taking 4 weighted courses and 4 non-weighted academic courses.
This probably doesn't matter to most, but my son wants to take all academic courses and is second in his class, while the person ahead of him takes the same weighted courses, but less academic courses and will always have a higher average. The school is aware of this problem. Any ideas on how weighted grades can be used, but avoid this problem?
|By Dadster on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 05:32 pm: Edit|
Well, some schools count ALL the classes in GPA stats (except PE, usually), so one wouldn't be penalized for music courses.
This is a common issue with weighted grades - some students take more weighted classes, often in science/math, making it tough for artistic types to compete. There's not always a "right" answer for these conflicts. Is AP Physics more academically rigorous than Band? Probably. Do we want to make a value judgment, though, that science/math people will always outrank humanities/arts people? Not so easy to answer that one.
If you really want to get into game-playing, your son could take a course or two at a local college (replacing unweighted academic classes) to boost his weighted percent.
Personally, I'd suggest your son take the courses that make sense from an academic preparation and personal interest standpoint, and forget the GPA decimals. I think it make more sense to be #2 with a better education than to take Phys Ed instead of Chemistry to gain .03 on one's final GPA. The rank change probably won't matter one bit during the admissions process. On the other hand, if being #1 is really important (some colleges DO offer things like "valedictorian" scholarships), then try to find a way to do it that offers a better experience (like the college class) instead of avoiding academics. Or, resign yourself to playing the game according to the rules the school has established, no matter how dumb.
|By R Storm (Anonrs) on Saturday, January 26, 2002 - 12:13 am: Edit|
Bottom line, being or not being valedictorian will NOT be the make or break issue with admissions. In fact, if not already thrown out, many colleges will toss out Band / Music / Art classes on their own and recompute gpa -- thus evening the playfield as you desire.
That said, something like Band will probably *regain weight* as a highly desirable EC / personal interest, especially if the student plans on continuing his participation in college (ie "giving back" to the college by contributing to campus life through Band). If the Band student is also an otherwise strong student, he may well walk away with significant merit scholarship offers (much to the befuddlement of *solid academics only* students and their parents).
|By Dadster on Saturday, January 26, 2002 - 09:34 am: Edit|
Good point, R Storm. The more selective schools tend to look for well-rounded students, and excelling in diverse non-academic areas like music can be a plus, even if the student isn't a "recruited" musician.
|By david m. hughes on Saturday, February 02, 2002 - 06:51 pm: Edit|
My daughter is a high school junior and has had all A's since well, kindergarten. Her high school load has consisted of 3 honors courses (science, math, english but not history). But her rank is somewhere between the 6th and 10th percentile because other kids in a very good public school take more (and often easier) weighted honors courses. She is now considering taking that honors history course at the risk of too big a workload. As in past years she is also taking Latin (a fifth year) and an art course next year. We are concerned about the stress as she is in student government, a soccer player, a spirit week leader, etc. Her college goal is architecture, looking at Princeton, Cornell or Penn. Any sense to taking on less work or worth it to sweat another honors course?
|By Dave Berry on Saturday, February 02, 2002 - 07:39 pm: Edit|
Welcome to College Confidential, David. I assume that you and your daughter are aware of the challenge she faces at the schools you mention, especially Princeton. At the risk of sounding egregiously self-promoting here, let me mention that I have co-authored a book about what it takes to get into the Ivy League. It's called America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Applicant's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools. (The cover mistakenly says "Buyer's Guide," but they'll fix that on the next printing.)
In it, I chronicle my son's successful Princeton application quest (our editor refers to John as "Graham"), while speaking at length to what it takes to compete at this level. His complete Princeton application is spelled out, including essays, although our editor, for some reason, decided to refer to the Princeton application as being that of Stanford's (?). Also included, with detailed commentaries, are his essays from sucessful applications to Cornell, Swarthmore, and Haverford. He graduated from Princeton in 1999 with an B.S.E. in electrical engineering.
I didn't mention all that to brag or try to get you to buy our book. My purpose is getting you and your daughter to see the kind of competition she'll face this coming Fall when she applies.
The answer to your specific question is: It's too hard to tell with the limited information you've provided. Elite admissions is not an exact science and, therefore, there is no concrete formula that says, "If you have these courses with these grades, you're looking good."
Does your daughter have any Advanced Placement courses on her record--not "honors" courses, but College Board-approved APs with associated high scores in the AP exams? It sounds like she has some nice ECs, but the primary price of admission comes from academics.
I'll risk shameless self-promotion again here to suggest one way that your daughter may be able to determine her chances for admission to the Ivies. It's one of our counseling services here at College Confidential--the Stats Evaluation.
The Stats Evaluation is a detailed narrative that will give your daughter an in-depth and personalized evaluation of her chances at her candidate colleges, suggestions on other schools that may be a good match, and insights into how to improve her profile, plus much more.
Of course, if you don't care to invest the time in doing the background work I've suggested, you may post as much of her academic profile here on the board and we can all take a shot at an informal evaluation. You didn't mention her PSAT and SAT I scores. Those would help.
Thanks for posting, David. We'll look forward to hearing from you.
|By dhughes28 on Sunday, February 03, 2002 - 11:44 am: Edit|
Thank you for the fast response and yes, we are aware of the books that you have and reviews of essays, etc. (hey, its your webste, promote away) My daughter visited the architecture school at Princeton last fall and, like many, loved the place but especially liked the attention undergrad architect students receive. She has also been on a general tour of Cornell and CMU with her sister (now an engineering freshman at JHU)and will visit Penn this month. Her parents went to CMU so the guess here is that CMU may serve as the safety school along with PSU. She does want to be closer to home near Phila.
Reba will check out the stats evaluation. She also has ACSA's Guide to Architecture Schools that lists professionally accredited programs. Cornell, CMU and PSU have accredited 5 year bachelor programs. Princeton, Penn and UVA have accreditation in their master's programs. But to answer your questions:
If Reba takes the honors history course she would carry five AP courses including calculus and physics (her second course in physics)next year. Without preparation she got a 1240 in PSAT and based on her sister's performance after tutoring she should be around 1400. She tested in the highest percentile for spatial intelligence in 8th grade and now works summers in an architect's office.
The concern that I have as a parent is that the additional course work along with college applications, soccer captain and an officer in Student Government next year might drop her grades from no B's to two B's and hurt her more than help. Colleges seem to look for improving grades,
|By Dave Berry on Sunday, February 03, 2002 - 05:27 pm: Edit|
Your daughter has a strong-looking resume. She'll need to score highly on her SAT I and IIs, though, for some icing on the cake.
I empathize with your concerns about senior overload. However, if her stats are in the ballpark for ED, she could have the decision she wants before Christmas.
Did you see my post from earlier today under "Speaking of AP Courses and Elite Admissions..."? The NYT article sheds new light on elite admissions and AP courses.
Thanks for the update, David. Let me know if I can help Reba.
|By Dave Chiko on Monday, February 04, 2002 - 11:15 pm: Edit|
I don't know - it seems like school can't reall be fair about GPA's in the first place. My school does both weighted and unweighted but the official GPA is still weighted. Even if it is weighted, classes like AP Physics and Honors French 1 shouldn't reall be treated as the same.
Weighting GPA only create less-qualified "grade and GPA prostitutes" that take Hnrs and AP classes to keep up the GPA - they sully the learning process of those who care by taking classes they can't handle, cheating and pleading to the teachers, and ending up with higher ranks and GPAs. Also, it makes those students avoid non-honors classes that could enrich their experience much farther than another meaningless honors class.
I mean, my GPA and rank aren't that very good and I don't join the mindless competition, but sometimes it makes me mad because there are so many of them in classes that I really care about. They shouldn't be allowed to take those classes if they are not qualified - so in some areas, such as physics, kids in top 10 or 20 are significantly behind the few that care and they only slow us down.
Geez, I feel much better now. Thanks for bearing with my complainings.
|By Dave Chiko on Monday, February 04, 2002 - 11:32 pm: Edit|
It's been less than 30 minutes since i've posted the last message - but I've just realized that the concept of GPA is flawed in the first place - if the colleges are indeed looking for students that are genuinely interested in learning. I guess they want students that are "genuinely interested in learning" and "inclined to earn higher GPA." Nevertheless, those who are only inclined to earn higher GPA often wins competition against those who are genuinely interested in learning, because, as mentioned before, the true students won;t mind taking music, arts, or pop lit courses over honors this and that. Ok. I'm done.
|By Dadster on Tuesday, February 05, 2002 - 08:55 am: Edit|
GPA-maximizing grade-grubbers are perhaps the biggest argument against weighted grades, Dave. There really isn't a perfect solution. Should AP Physics count the same weight as Honors French? Or should it count the same as Health, as it might in an unweighted system? No matter which way you go, I think, people will find a way to game the system, whether it is loading up on easy As in an unweighted system, or maximizing their weighted/unweighted ratio in a weighted system (sometimes by nefarious means, like taking a study hall or a college class instead of an unweighted course). All in all, I lean toward weighting as being somewhat more equitable, although arts-oriented students may find it tough to be valedictorian. You make some good points!
|By Linda (Shennie) on Tuesday, February 05, 2002 - 11:28 am: Edit|
I think when we look at weighting, you have to look at th overall mission of high school. Most students in this country attend public high schools. The mission of the public high school is to prepare students for life after high school - this includes attending elite colleges (usually a small overall percentage of students), attending other kinds of 4 year colleges, going to technical or trade school, entering the military, going directly in the work force, etc.
Weighting grades places extra value on those classes needed to attend an elite college. So the implication is that it is a better, or more valuable choice, to try to attend an elite college. We can take this further to mean that I am smarter, better, and have overall higher status if I take these classes than if I don't. Is this the message we want to send to our high school students? Do we really believe that a degree from an elite college has more value to society (not economic value, but value to the sociey overall) than any other choice a student might make?
When my plumbing is backed up or my roof leaks or my computer needs fixing, my MS degree or my husband's PhD are pretty useless. Should the student who has a talent and passion for auto mechanics be eliminated from being able to strive for valedictorian simply because taking weighted classes will not help him achieve his goals? If a lot of honors level students were required to take auto mechanics to graduate from high school, would that improve their GPAs?
We need to remember that high schools are there for ALL students, not just those headed off to elite colleges. And many courses have value. Let's not create an artifical heirarchy just because the people in charge seem to think that graduating from an elite college is better than becoming an electrician.
|By NCExtempAsian on Tuesday, April 30, 2002 - 07:57 pm: Edit|
I feel the same way as Dave Chiko does with the "grade prostitutes." My school (an International Baccalureate school) is extremely competitive. Thus, some IB and AP classes are open to freshman and sophomores. I would love to see the elusive "6.0" on my report card, but I am dedicated to the "GPA killers" of Orchestra and Debate. It sorta saddens me to see the rampant cheating that is going in on in some of my classes. There are kids whose parents forced them into IB, and are pressured to succeed. Unfortunately, this has led to a "dumbing down" of sorts in the classroom. I expected PIB Chemistry to be challenging...instead I have to sit in class and hear people complain about how they can't add 1+1 or read an atomic mass off a periodic table.
I chose to stick with Orchestra and Debate because I have a passion for a well-rounded liberal arts education. I prefer the arts and humanities just as much as the maths and sciences. There is a girl at my school who is obsessed with doing better than her sister, who was valedictorian and at Harvard. As a result, she has become a "GPA prostitute." She was an excellent debater in an otherwise mediocre class and would've been up for a leadership position with me on our nationaly ranked debate team, however, she quit debate because it was a 4.0 class. She has "special accomodations" to take more IB classes a sophomore than anyone else. While I do commend her aptitude and intelligence, I believe that there are better things to life than valedictorian status...
|By Dadster on Tuesday, April 30, 2002 - 10:31 pm: Edit|
You have your priorities right, NCExtempAsian. Do well in the classes you are taking, enjoy your extracurriculars, and you'll get into some great colleges. If you can keep your sense of what's really important, you'll do well in life... Good luck!
|By David Hawsey on Wednesday, May 01, 2002 - 09:25 am: Edit|
There is so much more to life during high school and while preparing for college than trying to get all the best courses, taking every AP and honors class, joining every club or activity, volunteering by-the-hour because you think you "have to", and trying to hammer more nails at a Habitat for Humanity project than the student who sits next to you.
Contrary to what students (and parents) believe, most of us in college admissions do not care which student is ranked where among high schoolers. In fact, if you think you have a tough time trying to figure out the differences between 3,300 four-year colleges and universities, imagine how hard we have it trying to differentiate between 80,000 high schools across the country! It's not even worth the effort to try and rank and rate students among the various schools in one district, city, state or nationally.
I have found that when a student prepares well for college, challenging herself in ways that are honest and outright "brave" in some cases, it shows in how the character of that student is built. As long as you have taken things because you have a passion for them, do well in them, and stick with the activity or academic interest, it will show throughout your application package. One of the greatest joys I have is interviewing students face-to-face, because everything I see on paper comes to life. I know within the first five minutes whether a student has taken things in school to impress me, pad the application with the hopes of getting in before someone else does, or simply because their parents pushed them hard to do everything "or else" you won't get into a good school, honey."
The students who take things because they are want to show they can handle a challenge, offer a well-balanced portfolio, and show consistent performance in things that interest them have this happy "glow" to them, and their entire personality just affirms the documentation inside the application package.
In short, it's not the number of nails hammered in a volunteer project compared to the next student: it's the person swinging the hammer!
If we do our jobs right in the admissions process, the real "you" will come through independent of what other students are doing in your own school, and from any other school as well. If I find a match between your interests, and you find my school is a "fit", we'll both know it when it is time. This should happen everywhere in college admissions!!
|By anita~ on Sunday, December 01, 2002 - 06:24 am: Edit|
i have a teeny weeny question:
are grades a reflection of your intelligence?
|By Vamom (Vamom) on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 06:44 pm: Edit|
anita~, a murky reflection at best. Is the A student struggling or cruising along. Is the C student lazy, struggling, or cruising along? Same grade but differing intelligence levels.
Also, there are many "gifted" students who have learning disabilities or visual perception problems whose grades will never reflect their intelligence. There are others who are highly intelligent but don't do well on tests.
btw, (in my opinion) average intelligence with a good dose of common sense is a better mix for getting along in life than just high intelligence.
|By BaByGiRL on Thursday, February 13, 2003 - 06:24 pm: Edit|
My name is Jenna and i am a highschool student taking honors classes. I am definately in favor of weighted grades. Right now i have a 3.8 when I know i could have a 4.0 in taking "easy" classes. Although my grade would be higher with the non-honor classes, I am learning a lot more in my honors classes; this is why i continue to stay in them. My class along with other supporters are in a sense fighting our school board right now, in favor of weighted grades. We are hoping to change some of the opposers' minds. If anyone has some statistics or anything like that or an opinion, I would very much appreciate to hear it/ them. Thanks!
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