I see a lot of confusion over the question of what a students GPA is and I thought I would address that over the next week.
Today I want to talk about what a weighted GPA is. Most people understand that for grades an “A” is worth four points, a “B” is worth three points, a “C” is worth two points and a “D” is worth one point. Add your grade points together, divide by the number of classes and you have an average GPA.
For example, if you got a “B” in math, an “A” in science, an “A” in history, a “C” in English and a “B” in Spanish you would have 3+4+4+2+3= 16 points. Divide that by your 5 classes and your average GPA is 3.2.
Pretty easy, right. The problem is that this approach assumes that all classes are worth the same weight. BC Calculus vs Beginning Shop? An “A” in one is worth the same as an “A” in the other. Not much incentive to take the harder classes is it?
So people came up with the idea of weighting grades. Those classes that people thought were more challenging would be worth more in the GPA. So high schools started adding .5 points to a class if it were an AP class. Now, AP History was worth 4.5 points for an “A”, 3.5 points for a “B” and so on.
Take harder classes and get rewarded with a higher GPA. Doesn’t seem too unreasonable. But competition being what it is, things didn’t stay there.
The Great High School in town said, look, our school is a harder school than that other school in town so our “A” should be worth more than their “A”. Our AP class should be worth 1 extra point so an “A” in an AP class at our high school will be worth 5.0. Not to be outdone, the other high school in town, The Best High School, who knew that they were the better school, raised the bar so that now an AP at their school was worth 2 extra points. Their AP weighted grade was now a 6.0 for an “A”.
Next time I’ll talk about what that all means to you.
[…] grades in this country. Don’t know what weighted grades are? Take a minute to read about weighted grades. Because I work with students around the US I see all sorts of variations in how they weight […]