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Would Your Ideal HS Transcript be Detailed or Non-Specific?

3kids2dogs3kids2dogs 110 replies18 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
With a rising junior, I've been very invested this summer in helping her create a group of schools to consider (safety, match, reach). Based upon the totality of the circumstances, she seems to be most interested in honors colleges at public schools, so I've been reviewing both school, scholarship and honors college acceptance statistics closely.

I have a copy of a transcript from her HS from freshman year. We needed it for her to get her drivers permit.

I realized that the details on the transcript are incredibly vague. As students and parents, we get much more detail on the grading portal. I knew that for GPA purposes, her school operates without plusses or minuses (an A is an A), but I didn't realize that the percentage grade would not be on the transcript. I honestly don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

I suppose it all evens out in the end, but in a perfect world, which would you rather have:

1) a very specific transcript; ie listing each grade very specifically with a percentage like 93% or a 98%, or

2) a non-specific transcript that lists both of those grades simply as an A.
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Replies to: Would Your Ideal HS Transcript be Detailed or Non-Specific?

  • ultimomultimom 143 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I’d rather show the percentages. It seems strange to have accurate information and not use it. I’m not sure why scores need to move to a 4 or 5 point scale. I’d check with your school to see what transcript is sent to colleges. Our high school sent a more detailed version.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77783 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The student whose percentages are mostly in the lower end of the grade ranges prefers just the grade, while the student whose percentages are mostly in the high end of the grade ranges prefers the percentages.

    For example, if the grading scale has 90-100 = A, 80-89 = B, 70-79 = C, etc., then the student with mostly 99 and 89 grades will prefer to have percentages listed, while the student with mostly 90 grades will prefer to have only grades listed.

    A similar situation exists to a lesser extent with the SAT and ACT, where the concordance tables tend to have four SAT scores matching one ACT score. At the very top end, it is easier to get a "perfect" 36 on the ACT than a "perfect" 1600 on the SAT for both this reason and the fact that the ACT composite is a rounded average of the subsections instead of the sum (36/36/35/35 gives 36 composite on the ACT, but you need 800/800 to get 1600 on the SAT). This can matter for such things as the Presidential Elite scholarship at Alabama (3.5 HS GPA and either 36 ACT or 1600 SAT).
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1419 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would definitely prefer detailed percentage scores, which luckily our DS20’ school provides. How could colleges “recalculate” GPAs if only letter grades were provided?
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1384 replies19 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @makemesmart the type of recalculation that I know of can all be done with just letter grades. They are unweighted (A = 4, B =3, etc), removing +/- (A+ = 4.0 not 4.3), and academic coursework only.
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  • mathhappymathhappy 72 replies9 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My school puts the numerical grades on the transcript, but I recalculated my GPA a while back with just As, Bs, etc and it ended up being almost exactly the same. I think the ideal transcript would be letters with the pluses and minuses because that rewards students who do more than the minimum to get an A without the stress that every single point matters. I've seen kids at my school freak out over a 91 vs a 92, which would be solved with a slightly vaguer system. However, if my school just had the letters without signs on them, I think I would be very frustrated by all the slackers ending up with the same GPA as me despite getting primarily 90s and 91s rather than 94s and 95s.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 38911 replies6874 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    My school puts the numerical grades on the transcript, but I recalculated my GPA a while back with just As, Bs, etc and it ended up being almost exactly the same.
    My HS had a strange GPA system - 0-6 with no conversion chart to a 4.0 scale or A-F or 0-100 (some guidance on NCAA.com). For giggles, a group of us took are transcripts and raw data and ran simulations to see what our GPA's would be under various scenarios of more traditional GPA reporting with and without pluses and minuses. The result? No meaningful statistical difference regardless of GPA method.

    Obviously it's a small data set, but I really don't think it matters. In the first place, the HS won;t change and the the second, AOs figure it out.
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  • mathmommathmom 32253 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    We had grades 0-100. I can't even remember what was theoretically was an A, since I mentally translated it to what I grew up with. I only used the translation into a 4.0 scale as a very rough estimate. Naviance told me what bands of grades were considered good enough by various colleges.
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  • kiddiekiddie 3375 replies215 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would prefer the percentages be on the transcript. Schools vary on where to make the letter grade cutoffs (is a 93 an A or an A-, an 89 may be a B+ but is a 99 an A+?). If the teacher gave a percentage, the school should show it on the student's transcript.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 26695 replies174 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Schools vary on where to make the letter grade cutoffs (is a 93 an A or an A-, an 89 may be a B+ but is a 99 an A+?).

    As do teachers.

    for me, too much statistical variance to put percents on the transcript. What about the same class with different teachers, one of which is harder than the other? Plus, the % creates more competition among the students. Just not worth it, IMO. I'd rather go with the Letter Grade +/- system.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 38911 replies6874 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    edited July 16
    Schools vary on where to make the letter grade cutoffs (is a 93 an A or an A-, an 89 may be a B+ but is a 99 an A+?).
    The school profile would generally show this, particularly is the grading is not standard. If one is looking for actionable ideas versus pie in the sky, getting a school to adjust the profile would be more likely than getting them to modify the transcripts.
    edited July 16
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  • milgymfammilgymfam 766 replies14 threadsRegistered User Member
    I prefer it be kept simple. My daughter always had close to a 100, or over it where possible (it has been possible even in DE classes), but I prefer the simplicity of an A is an A is an A.
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1419 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    We had tried (and failed) to make DS school change its grading scale from 6-point (94 is the lowest A-) to a 10-point scale (90 is the lowest A-). Since all HS in the metro area (Public as well as private) had all started to use the 10-point scale.
    An interesting thought experiment would be to test, whether teachers using the 6-point scale grade more leniently than those in 10-point scale: ie a 93 in DS’ school is actually a 89 in many other school? I somehow don’t believe so, (why would most schools are using 10-point scale?) but who knows.
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  • kiddiekiddie 3375 replies215 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My point is that if a teacher is asked to give each student a grade in percentage for a class, then the school needs to show that on the transcript. If the teacher only gave letter grades, then they would show the letter grades. In all cases, the school profile would explain the grading scale used by the school.
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  • mathmommathmom 32253 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @makemesmart years ago I read an article in the Washington Post that when schools adjusted the grading scale to make A's more difficult to get, teachers just adjusted the numbers so that approximately the same percentage of the class continued to get A's.
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1419 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @mathmom
    That was the point our headmaster used to “deflect” our arguments of changing the scales. I could see the point, but for classes like math/physics, where the grading are more objective than subjective, I still couldn’t see that reasoning. But it is what it is, and I am no longer being bothered by it. The transcripts of DS’ school contains a detailed school profile, hope the AOs take time to look at it. 😅
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  • 3kids2dogs3kids2dogs 110 replies18 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    OP here - Interesting to hear all the viewpoints. The more I think about it, the happier I am that the transcript just lists A, B, C. Her school does not have plus or minus on letters or in GPA either. An 89,5% is an A and a 100% is an A.

    I wholeheartedly agree it is a stress reduction for kids, who might otherwise agonize over a percentage.

    I determined my own daughter's GPA off of percentage vs. A, B, C and it is virtually the same.

    Whether a college will view every A as a 95, I have no idea, but if that were true it would help her in a few grades and hurt her in a few others. In the end, it all works out, and if it eases a bit of competition and stress (her school doesn't rank either - just reports the highest GPA of a 600+ person class) in what is an already stressful and competitive environment, I'm all for it.
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