Why Should Classes be Weighted?
Students that challenge themselves with advanced classes work harder for their GPA than those who choose electives. These courses include College Algebra, Calculus, College English, Physics, Anatomy, and College Social. Recently the Park Rapids Area High School asked students to come up with more “fun” electives that we as students would like to take. Which is a great idea if electives are used properly. Personally, for my schedule these new electives have not made it easier to work out classes I have made a priority to be in. With this being said, teachers have had to give up independent studies to “ go the extra mile” for us students. Everyone has different plans for college and some aren’t ready for the challenge of college courses. By weighting college courses your GPA could increase by .25 (“What You Need to Know About Weighted GPA”). This is not a setback for them, but the opportunity is open to everyone. The issue we have ran across is that students are receiving the same GPA as students taking multiple college courses. “A temporary solution in the past has been that teachers have given bonus points” (“How valid is the practice of weighting grades for honors and AP courses”).
These courses have been said to be “more challenging” or “ not much homework, but a lot of studying on your own time.” I am in two courses just like that and I can agree to those statements. The credit should be going to our teachers. They have gone to college, and got their degrees to teach and have met the requirements to make these classes available before actually being in the college setting. “Such teachers are generally able to explain difficult concepts with remarkable insight” (“What You Need to Know About Weighted GPA”).
With this being an issue, students have become concerned with valedictorian spots and class ranking for college purposes. This issue isn’t just in our school, but we don’t want to wait for other schools to make the first move; we want to be the change. College Administration has stressed immensely that high schools that do not think weighting classes are important have put their graduates in a tough spot to things like first pick in certain programs in the college of their choice. “Most students who take an AP course enroll in it only after taking a regular high school course in the subject,” the researchers write (“What You Need to Know About Weighted GPA”). That is a drastic change for someone coming out of a school with a graduating class of around one hundred. For those who have educated themselves to taking that next step in these “ in-depth classes” should not be put in the same rankings as other classmates that have not properly prepared for their futures (“What You Need to Know About Weighted GPA”). “Having no honors or AP classes on a transcript may create a disadvantage a student who wishes to apply to a selective college and finds that other students surpass their program of studies and achievement level” (Bonchak). There is a dream that a lot of us share but without a certain focus many struggle to make that dream a reality. This dream I speak of consists of going to the college of your choice, getting in all your needed classes and being first pick, and lastly getting out of there with no issues to begin the life you strive for.
This has already been a concern in the 2017 senior grade but it could also affect the younger classes as well because some of the harder courses are also offered to the juniors. In order to grow, teachers work and learn from students along with vise versa. “In the end, weighted classes will allow you to remain ahead of the pack in your high school academic career” (“What You Need to Know About Weighted GPA”).We are always looking for more never settling for right now and with your support anything is possible.
In a traditional 4.0 GPA scale system:
A = 4.0 = 4 points
B = 3.0 = 3 points
C = 2.0 = 2 points
D = 1.0 = 1 point
F = 0.0 = 0 points
“Having no honors or AP classes on a transcript may create a disadvantage a student who wishes to apply to a selective college and finds that other students surpass their program of studies and achievement level” (Bonchak and Skrajner).
The simplest solution to this problem is to offer the option of making the more challenging classes weighted. It is a possibility to just start off with weighting one or two, but all advanced classes would be best. Not just college level, but the advanced math classes as well.
The best solution is to make all college in the high school or AP level courses weighted more than others. A study at Carroll County High School said that students want to be recognized because they choose to take more difficult courses (“Study Supports Weighted Grades Proposed Option Would Benefit Pupils in Advanced Classes”). It is not a requirement to take a math course during your senior year at Park Rapids High School, but some students get ahead of the game starting in eighth grade by taking the advanced class and then doubling up their junior or senior year. They do this because they want to achieve more and take every opportunity available to better themselves. Taking the advanced courses will better prepare students for higher education (Bonchak and Skrajner).
Some schools have chosen to get rid of their class rank which also gets rid of the valedictorian and salutatorian (“Weighted Grades - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”). They do this because after incorporating the weighted classes they felt as though the students began to be more focused on grades rather than a well rounded education (“Weighted Grades - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”). Most colleges think GPA is important, but they look at everything including extracurricular activities (Bonchak and Skrajner). A lot of seniors at Park Rapids school fill their schedule with multiple college courses and could be considered well rounded. They are also involved in sports and it consumes all of their time. If these heavy loaded courses were weighted it would make all of their extra time and effort even more worth it. For example, there are a few ways to fulfill the senior year English requirement. You can take college English or you can pick a few English electives. Taking the college course is obviously the more challenging route and a lot more work, but the electives option is less rigorous and still fulfills the same requirement. What I'm trying to say is that one always takes more work to get the grade that would have been easier to earn in the other. If the class was weighted, then the extra effort and taking the challenge would be rewarded.
“Without weighted grades, some students would not attempt the challenge of AP or IB classes for fear that a B would tarnish their perfect 4.0” (“Weighted Grades - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”). I am one of those students with a perfect 4.0 and it is tempting to take the easier route and know that I will be able to keep it perfect. If I lose it, at least I know that I went down taking on a challenge. A downside to weighting classes could be that students would frown upon those that take the non-weighted courses (Bonchak, Jean, and Skrajner, Matt). In this situation the good really outweighs the bad.
The first step in bringing the option of weighted classes into Park Rapids schools is making people aware. We took a poll on twitter because we determined that is the best, most efficient way to reach our fellow Park Rapids High School students and students from other schools. Our results showed that more people are for weighted classes than against it. 64% of those who voted agreed that Park Rapids High School should weight their college level courses, but 36% said no. The student government at Carroll County High School brought the idea to the school board’s attention ("Study Supports Weighted Grades Proposed Option Would Benefit Pupils in Advanced Classes"). Their board voted in favor of it and they came up with a point system ("Study Supports Weighted Grades Proposed Option Would Benefit Pupils in Advanced Classes"). If a student earned and A letter grade in a weighted class they would get five points, but and A letter grade in an unweighted class would earn them one less, four, points instead.
The dean of admissions and financial aid at Notre Dame said that taking AP and honors classes can only help the students who take them and that those classes will better prepare them for college (Bonchak and Skrajner). Why not give students more of a reason to challenge themselves and use every opportunity available to them.