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High School Class Rank Question

boys2020boys2020 4 replies2 threads New Member
Has anyone heard of "tagging" your high school classes in order to improve your standing? We are in public high school in California and one of my son's counselors mentioned this to him as an option. Here is what he wrote to me when I asked for clarification: "Tagging" in this sense refers to excluding a 7th period class in GPA calculation, not removing the class from an official document. This option allows all students to be placed on an even playing field, since most students end up averaging only 6 classes. Here is the statement from our EdCode:

Administrative Regulation 5121 states that “all calculations for class ranking be based on 30 graded academic credits per semester”. Students have the option to elect not to use grades for classes taken beyond the 30 credits/semester of academic course work. The intent of this language is to “level the playing field” for students who take 7 periods per semester.

Because my son has taken 7 classes during all 4 years of HS, he essentially has 5 classes (50 credits) right now that are considered electives. He has completed all HS graduation requirements as well as exceeded the A-G requirements for UC Admission. He got 4 C grades during his freshman and sophomore years in Spanish and Math (other grades were 18 A grades and 6 B grades). I asked if we could have the 4 C grades "tagged" to improve his class rank since they equate to 20 credits and he's currently on track to graduate with 50 "elective" credits. His grades his junior year were straight A and he's on track to do the same with senior year, but of course those won't be seen for college admissions. I understand this won't change his GPA, but if it improves his class rank, then I'm all for it.

While I'm waiting for a response to my questions (he's elevated the questions to the Registrar), my son told me they talked yesterday at school and the counselor told my son they wouldn't be able to do it (he hasn't told me this yet) because "he said my C grades were earned when I was completing my requirements, so I can only do it on stuff during my senior year that now falls into electives." I am suspicious why that would be the case since Spanish 1 (where he got a C grade for both semesters in freshman year) would be considered "core/required" but his IB-SL Spanish 4--clearly a more challenging weighted class--is considered "elective" and he's on track to earn an A there. Further confusing (and upsetting) is the follow up comment counselor told my son: that they would only do the "tagging" for high honor society students. My son has a solid weighted/unweighted GPA: 3.8333/3.5476, but I'm so frustrated for all he has accomplished in the last 2 years, these C grades may make the difference in being accepted into a UC. If this tagging routine is allowed in order to improve class rank, then it should be allowed for all students, as long as they meet the other criteria.
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Replies to: High School Class Rank Question

  • thumper1thumper1 75244 replies3300 threads Senior Member
    edited November 1
    I’d be very surprised if you could delete Spanish 1. It was a required prerequisite to get to his higher level course. The state probably requires a certain number of math courses too.

    Math and foreign language are required courses here ...and you can’t just drop into higher level courses without taking the required lower level ones.

    Class rank isn’t the acid test for college admissions. Plus, the colleges will still see those C grades and an upward trend. The upward trend is good.

    IIRC the UCs look only at grade 10 and 11 grades. Have him apply there.

    Frankly, he earned those C grades.

    What do you hope to gain here?
    edited November 1
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2462 replies36 threads Senior Member
    What is your S's UC calculated GPA? Freshman year grades are not included, so that should help him by removing a couple of C's.

    Directions here: https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/admission-requirements/freshman-requirements/gpa-requirement.html

    Calculator here: https://rogerhub.com/gpa-calculator-uc/
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  • thumper1thumper1 75244 replies3300 threads Senior Member
    Lease clarify. Are you looking at class rank and GPA for college admissions purposes or because you want your son to have a higher class rank?

    It sounds like you only care about this because of class rank. Really, the day after your kid graduates from high school, no one will care about his class rank. For admissions purposes, colleges care more about over all class rigor and GPA than class rank.

    I personally think you are making much ado about nothing.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1149 replies16 threads Senior Member
    edited November 1
    The quoted regulation only refers to “calculations for class rank”, so it appears GPA isn’t changed. And would lead to an odd situation of a higher class rank but lower GPA.

    Either way, schools will see the transcript with all grades. Class rank really doesn’t mean much for college acceptance - most schools around here have deleted it.

    Side note - 7 classes vs. a normal 6? D17 who graduated and D22, currently a sophomore, have had 8.0 or 7.9 classes/credits every year - 1 study hall period per week for half the year, at most.

    Is 6 classes a day normal at other schools?
    edited November 1
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  • thumper1thumper1 75244 replies3300 threads Senior Member
    Right...many high schools don’t rank students at all anymore. Some rank only the top ten students. Some rank only in deciles.

    Also, there are a bunch of different ways to compute class rank...another reason why this is the THE bar for colleges. Some high schools use all classes. Some high schools don’t use not required electives. Some schools use weighted GPA. Some schools don’t.

    What is to be gained by improving class rank in CA?

    Again I ask...why is this important to you?
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78634 replies697 threads Senior Member
    Note that UCs and CSUs do not consider high-school-calculated class rank in admissions. They use recalculated GPA as described in reply #2.

    The ELC "top 9%" for UCs is not based on high-school-calculated class rank. It is based on whether the student's UC-recalculated GPA meets or exceeds a threshold GPA set by the top 9% of a recent previous class at the high school (using UC-recalculated GPA).

    Now, if he wants to apply to a Texas public university, high-school-calculated class rank is the biggest factor in admission there. But it seems unlikely that a California student is that interested in Texas public universities.
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  • boys2020boys2020 4 replies2 threads New Member
    Sorry for the lag in response. I don't get notified when someone responds (I need to look at my settings) and don't know my way around this site well at all.

    To answer thumper, what I hoped to gain is showing that my son has taken very rigorous coursework in high school. According to our school counselors, UC only looks at unweighted GPA but the way they can tell if the student took rigorous coursework (my boys are IB students) vs a student who took standard coursework is that comparing 2 identical unweighted GPAs, both at 3.54 but one with a class rank of 47 and one with a class rank of 122 (out of 512 students) shows that the student with the 47 took harder/weighted classes. If class rank helps get him into a UC, that is my only reason for focusing on this. I couldn't care any less otherwise.

    Mwfan, thank you for those links. It appears maybe the school counselor isn't quite as clear on these details. Unfortunately, being in a low performing district with severely overpopulated classes, these college bound kids don't get a lot of attention. The district is primarily focused on boosting HS graduation rates and reducing drop out rates.

    I do appreciate the feedback, but I have to say, responses from thumper seem pretty judgey. With 75K responses under your belt, it seems you've been on this site a very long time and are quite prolific and probably quite knowledgeable. A friendly reminder, those of us who are new to this site are looking for help and guidance navigating an already stressful time appreciate facts and encouragement, but could do without the negative opinions about our approach to help our students navigate college applications.

    Thank you.
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  • thumper1thumper1 75244 replies3300 threads Senior Member
    edited November 7
    I wasn’t meaning to be negative. I was just stating the fact that class rank is not the most meaningful data point in an application. One basic reason for this is that the calculations for class rank vary wildly from high school to high school.

    I think your student will have great college options even with the C grades he has...many kids don’t have perfect 4.0 grades and still get into great colleges. His actual GPA for UC purposes won’t even include the freshman C grade...but that won’t change his class rank....I understand that. But the colleges will see his upward trend in grades, and his transcript which will show more advanced courses he took.

    Like I said...I was not intending to be judgey. I was just stating the facts as I see them.
    edited November 7
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  • boys2020boys2020 4 replies2 threads New Member
    I just followed the UC calculations instructions but have a few questions, if you're able to help me here:

    On step 4: "Divide your total grade points by the number of grades earned in courses taken...", is it only asking to count the A-G courses taken, or ALL courses taken during sophomore/junior years? The difference, if I'm doing it correctly, is pretty dramatic.


    Being that my kids are IB Diploma candidates, the course offerings are sometimes out of order from traditional HS courses, so the only opportunity to complete the F requirement of Visual & Performing Arts was in freshman year when they took Concert Band. Do I calculate that in even though it wasn't taken during the normal sophomore / junior time-frame?

    TIA!
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2462 replies36 threads Senior Member
    @gumbymom Can you address/clarify question in post 9?
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  • boys2020boys2020 4 replies2 threads New Member
    Thank you.
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  • dadof4kidsdadof4kids 695 replies68 threads Member
    RichInPitt wrote: »
    Side note - 7 classes vs. a normal 6? D17 who graduated and D22, currently a sophomore, have had 8.0 or 7.9 classes/credits every year - 1 study hall period per week for half the year, at most.

    Is 6 classes a day normal at other schools?

    We have 10 classes for the year. The school has a block schedule, so 5 classes in the fall, 5 in the spring.

    It's as bad of an idea as it sounds like, by the way. But the school decided if they lengthened the day a bit, and shortened classes a bit, and made passing periods that would require a dead run to get from one side of the building to the other, they could squeeze an extra class out of the teachers and be able to reduce staff.

    Between meetings for EC's that are almost all before school and sports practice after school D21 leaves our house at 6:45 or 7:30 depending on the day, and gets home about 6:00. Showers, shoves something down her throat, and studies for a few hours. Rinse, repeat.

    She's looking forward to the pre-med grind, it should be a bit of a let up compared to her current schedule.

    Not really relevant to the current discussion, other than to show that there are plenty of schools with dumb problems, you aren't the only one.
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  • usma87usma87 382 replies3 threads Member
    @boys2020 - I am also a California parent. My complaint about this system was that extra, non-AP classes my DS took negatively impacted his class rank. My son had a 4.0 (4.5 ish weighted). He was ranked #12 in the class. When I asked how that was possible, the counselor explained the info you posted above. Because my son took Jazz Band '0' period, it actually hurt his class rank by "diluting" (my word) his GPA with non-AP classes. I was very frustrated. I felt like this policy punishes AP and IB kids who take extra classes, like band.

    I realize class rank is less important in today's admission process, but my parental pride got hurt.
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  • GumbymomGumbymom 28176 replies175 threadsForum Champion UC Forum Champion
    edited November 7
    @boys2020:

    It does not matter the sequence of the a-g courses for the UC’s, as long as the student takes the 15 minimum a-g course requirements sometime between 9-12th grades.

    For the UC GPA calculation, use the Rogerhub calculator which I will link again.

    https://rogerhub.com/gpa-calculator-uc/

    Count up all the A’s, B’s, C’s etc for each semester/trimester or quarter for each a-g course taken 10-11th grades only. Extra Honors points are given for UC approved Honors, AP/IB or DE courses taken only 10-11th grades.

    The UC GPA calculator will calculate the uW UC GPA, Capped weighted UC GPA (used to determine eligibility and also the most quoted in UC Statistical data plus limited to 8 semesters or 4 year long approved Honors/AP/IB or DE courses) and the Fully weighted UC GPA (unlimited of # of extra honors points). The UC’s look at all 3 UC GPA’s.

    Hopefully this helps. If not, please PM me with his classes and grades and I will gladly do the calculation for you.
    edited November 7
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78634 replies697 threads Senior Member
    boys2020 wrote: »
    According to our school counselors, UC only looks at unweighted GPA but the way they can tell if the student took rigorous coursework (my boys are IB students) vs a student who took standard coursework is that comparing 2 identical unweighted GPAs, both at 3.54 but one with a class rank of 47 and one with a class rank of 122 (out of 512 students) shows that the student with the 47 took harder/weighted classes. If class rank helps get him into a UC, that is my only reason for focusing on this. I couldn't care any less otherwise.

    Unfortunately, it seems that your school counselors do not have a good grasp of how UC admission works, so you and your student need to do the reading of UC websites on your own.
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3921 replies50 threads Senior Member
    The IBD is well known, it isn't like that is going to present a mystery for UCs?
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2486 replies5 threads Senior Member
    edited November 8
    "Is 6 classes a day normal at other schools?"

    It's pretty common in here in the bay area, and at the risk of generalizing, probably most of CA. You can't really take a 7th class if you're playing a sport, you can try but it would be tough as you have to miss some practices and classes when the sport is being played. You also have to take PE in 9th at many local schools, you don't take history or social studies in 9th. They try to make 9th grade as stress free as possible, which is good. If you're not playing a sport, you can take a second or third elective.

    "My son has a solid weighted/unweighted GPA: 3.8333/3.5476, but I'm so frustrated for all he has accomplished in the last 2 years, these C grades may make the difference in being accepted into a UC."

    Not sure what you mean by solid, but if you mean competitive, they're probably not, at least for the more selective ones. UCB's and UCLA's 25%/75% for GPA are 4.1/4.3 weighted. Gumbymom and ucbalumnus can give a lot more detail if you want (I think on the CA state forum.).
    edited November 8
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3921 replies50 threads Senior Member
    What are the test scores?
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  • Johnny523Johnny523 153 replies9 threads Junior Member
    "Is 6 classes a day normal at other schools?"

    Our HS (in Colorado) only has 7 class periods and lots of kids take a free period. My son (a senior) is only taking five classes this year.
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  • CheeringsectionCheeringsection 2514 replies77 threads Senior Member
    7 class periods are all that is offered here as well. Most take 6 and a study hall especially if play sports, are in plays or musicals, etc because it is the only time to make up a test, meet with GC, meet with a teacher, etc. most music and art is unweighted and does pull down weighted GPA.
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