Are weighted grades a good idea?

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Anna Hulstedt, Reporter

Many students pay close attention to their GPA. It’s really important – something that colleges will definitely take a look at when evaluating college applications. Students need a high GPA to apply for national honor society clubs. GPA is also used in determining class rank. However, GPA can look very different depending on how it is calculated. Some schools utilize a weighted system, while others, like our school, use an unweighted grading system.

The unweighted grading system only looks at one’s grades, without taking into consideration the difficulty of the courses taken. It is a 0- 4 scale, with each number representing a letter grade (4=A, 3=B, 2=C, 1=D, 0=F). A student with all A’s that took Honors courses would have a 4.0 GPA, and so would a straight-A student taking regular classes. Scales for GPA vary slightly among different schools.

On the other hand, weighted GPA takes into account one’s grades and the classes taken. This provides a more accurate way of displaying grades.

“I think weighted grades would be a great improvement to our school. Regular classes should be compared to the honor classes that have harder work, so it is more difficult to get an A. Also, academic scholarships would be more fairly given out, because you’d know who truly has a better GPA,” said Madison Diercks (‘20).

For example, someone taking a difficult AP or accelerated course may put in more effort and time, but they still get a B. However, the weighted GPA takes that into consideration, so the B in a hard class is as good as an A in an easier course. Therefore, both of these students would receive a 4.0 for these courses.

Weighted grades add a point to the scale for harder classes taken. This doesn’t penalize people who take lower-level courses, because they can still get a 4.0, but the scale is extended to a 5.0 scale so that students who exceed in some honors classes will have that reflected on their GPA.

“I think that we should have weighted grades because I don’t think it’s fair that someone who takes no honors classes but has all A’s could have a higher GPA than someone who takes much harder honors classes but has a B or two,” said Sarah Hulstedt (‘20).

Despite whether or not schools use a weighted or unweighted GPA system, most colleges will also examine your transcript to look at the classes you took. Therefore, since our school uses an unweighted grading system, the people who look at scholarships will look at the difficulty of the classes you take so they can fairly hand out available grants.

Changing to weighted grades would be a great idea to improve our school. Students wouldn’t have to worry about their GPA dropping if they take a hard class, because it would be weighted differently, a more fair way. Basically, if someone got a B in an accelerated class, the unweighted grade system totally ignores the fact that it’s a harder class, and only takes the grade and NOT the difficulty into consideration.

“If we had weighted grades, it would encourage many students to join accelerated classes and challenge themselves,” said Gianna Sagona (‘20).