Please explain "weighted" GPA?

<p>I don't really understand the term "weighted"....How is it that certain schools weight and others don't?...What is the significance of it?</p>


<p>Like everything in American education, this is a district level decision. Schools have different policies regarding whether to weight or not, and how much weight to give to different kinds of courses (regular, honors, APs, college). And some schools, like ours, do not weight at all. Colleges have their own policies, too. Many recalculate the GPA, using only Core courses (math, English, history, science, foreign languages). Many, however, do not recalculate, possibly because they are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of applications.
Even when colleges recalculate, however, the GPA, as calculated by the high school, affects ranking (and again, here, some rank, others provide percentile rankings, and some do not rank at all). The significance thus depends partly on what colleges a student is applying to. In some cases, ranking matters for scholarships. In an earlier discussion, a parent pointed out that some scholarships were available only to valedictorians.</p>

<p>Someone will no doubt be able to do a more thorough job than I, but basically, at our school, Honors and AP courses are graded using a 5 point grade scale rather than the standard 4 point, when calculating the Grade Point Average. So, an "A" in an honors course would be worth 5 points instead of the four points that would be used for an "A" in a standard course. </p>

<p>I don't think it's all that significant. Many schools don't provide GPA to colleges at all (including ours). Our GC says that the adcoms have their own formulae for calculating GPAs anyway, based on level of difficulty of courses, and what they know (if anything) about the high school. One Ivy admissions person told our group that they converted any weighted GPAs back to 4.0 scale, because they considered a predominately Honors/AP curriculum to be a given for any applicant who would be seriously considered anyway.</p>

<p>Weighting is significant so you don't get the spectre of a student who takes basket weaving and remedial English becoming Valedictorian while those loaded down with AP Physics etc. end up outside of the top 10% (which is HUGELY significant for college admissions in many states, as well as to elites which know that the number of kids from the top ten percent of their high schools is figured into USNWR stats. Top 10% may also be significant for scholarships).</p>

<p>In our school, on a 100 point scale, Honors courses are "double weighted" (an extra 20 points per credit - a year course is two credits) and AP courses are triple weighted. That is, an 85 in a regular course is a 105 in an Honors course and an AP course is 115.</p>

<p>Colleges may strip the weights but only because they have their own system of adding back, or comparing nonweighted with weighted courses (or what they perceive as easy courses with what they perceive as more rigourous).</p>

<p>Our school reports both weighted and unweighted GPA on the transcript, as well as class rank. As several adcoms point out in their books, without ranking based on some legitimate system, there is little way for the adcoms to tell if your kid with a (say) 98 average is at the top of the class, or if the grade inflation is so bad that there are 30 kids above him!</p>

<p>Something like 40-50% of matriculants to the top colleges come from schools that don't report rank or GPA (ours is one of them). I'm given to understand that that's more typical of private prep schools, but I don't know that for a fact. This has been an issue for some parents at our school, for the reasons nedad outlines above. Our GC's explanation has been that the colleges calculate their own rank and GPA based on the transcript and their past knowledge of the school's graduates, and that in a graduating class of 80 or 90 kids, where the top ten percent are separated by hundreths of a GPA point and have all taken the same Honors/AP program, the HS doesn't want to inject undue grade competition. I'm not sure how they would address the issue of scholarships based on GPA/rank. Our school does calculate both, and will tell parents privately.....they just don't put it on the transcript or publish it. I will have to ask what they would do for a student who wanted to apply for one of the automatic scholarships based on class rank or GPA. I have a feeling they'd figure out a way to accomodate such a student.</p>

<p>I have never heard the figure that 40-50% of matriculants come from schools that don't rank. I interviewed for an Ivy for many years and am on parent committees at two top ten schools, and for these three schools, that figure is way, way off. Where did you get it? </p>

<p>Also, while it is true that adcoms can figure rank for schools they are very familiar with, like top feeder preps or top high schools, there are many high schools that do not usually send kids to top schools. For my Ivy, I was asked several times to interview students from High School XYZ but told, "We haven't taken anyone from that school in 30 years" -- when I asked why, it was because they suspected serious grade inflation and when kids apply, there is no rank to let them know what a GPA of 3.8 MEANS in context.</p>

<p>PS Not ranking may be more common for small classes like yours; however, my D (in a Top Ten) was in a class of 100 and was ranked #2.</p>

<p>My daughter went to a small public H.S. (97 seniors)that did not rank (or weigh grades) for many of the reasons that Driver stated. They would rank confidentially for admissions or scholarship purposes. By the same token, by living in NYC, all of the major courses (english, math, history and the sciences) had NYS regents scores which were part of the transcript. In addition the majority of the seniors did take AP courses.</p>

<p>I believe that school who do not rank are places where the profile is extremely important (ours was 6 pages). By being a small middle & High school which is under 10 years old, they did not have a history with a lot of schools .</p>

<p>Most of the schools have internal data that you can find if you search for it. For example, here is Dartmouth's, showing that only 53% of the class of 2007 had a class rank.<br>
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Similar table for Brown at
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>My daughter's HS does identify a val and a sal, but no further ranking.</p>

<p>I just went to my daughters high school academic night last night. Very interesting.
They offer the most AP and honors classes of any public school in area, but do not have weighted grades. I imagine because many colleges don't seem to weight grades or else they have their own formula( only academic classes)
They do rank students and currently have 44 seniors with straight A's and 17 NMsemi-finalists. They put all 44 seniors in 1st place without differentiating between who has taken the most Ap's running start or whatever classes.
The school profile that goes along with the application should explain how the high school treats grades and of the rigor of the course work. While many students do take AP classes even though unweighted, colleges also ask to see the catalog so they can see what is offered.
It does seem to help that a school is well known in admissions offices. Example a parent last night commented that a college roommate is an adcom at Brown, lots of regard for the high school and students attend most years, but they apparently know little about students from other area public high schools which have as good or better of reputation in the area.
Glad my daughter is in a good high school, but as her sisters school didn't rank, I was blissfully unaware of how she stood in her class. I don't know if I wanna know where my younger daughter fits in, with this group, it's pretty competitve!</p>

<p>At my son's school there's no rank, no GPA and a policy against giving academic awards. It makes for an interesting application (lots of blanks).</p>


<p>Daughters school was the same way, she was a little scared because the application asks about academic honors, and the school did not have any (no Vals or Sals either). I guess they think that it is an academic honor to simply do well without having to be rewarded</p>


<p>Academic honors would be things like NHS, or the Latin Certificate, or Academic Decathlon medal, or NMS. They need not be school-based,</p>

<p>"Common Data Set" is the phrase I was trying to remember....that's what you search when you want to get into a school's underlying statistics. I had time to check a couple. Princeton's class of 07 had only 39% submit class rank on their application! Williams College class of 04 (most recent I could find quickly) had 49% submit class rank. </p>

<p>I also came across this interesting piece of info regarding Harvard's class of '08: "This year’s pool also contained the lowest number of valedictorian applicants in five years. Fitzsimmons attributed the decline to the increase in schools doing away with class rank." <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Princeton Common Data Set (see pg. 8)
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Willams Common Data Set (scroll down about 3/4 of the page)
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>True. there are non-school based academic awards. But, from my experience, the kids who attend the types of school that don't rank, calculate GPA or give academic awards also don't encourage the kids to participate in such endeavors outside of school. As a matter of fact, I would bet that most of these kids aren't even aware that such competitions exist. </p>

<p>Speakng of NMS, when my son came home with his National Achievement Scholar letter earlier this week he had no idea what it was. He said (as I was walking by his room) "mom, me and this other girl got called to the headmaster's office today and he gave us this" (handing me the paper), which had been jumbled in the bottom of his envelope. I asked what it was (before reading it) and he said he didn't know and returned to his homework.</p>

<p>I had to look it up on the internet to figure it out.</p>

<p>A friend of mine has a son in another private prep school in the area. Her son was honored at an awards breakfast at the school for Natnl Achievement Scholars (parents were invited).</p>

<p>Just goes to show how two schools in the same area can handle things so differently.</p>