State plans to standardize GPA calculation

Ashley Hughes

The Texas Board of Higher Education is proposing a new law that would prevent students in Pre-AP classes from receiving the full extra point on GPA’s and would alter the way the grade point averages are calculated. Currently there is no consistent standard for calculating GPA’s in Texas.

Right now, GPA calculations vary from district to district; some districts count electives and others don’t. Some districts exclude college level classes and classes taken in middle school, and others count every single class. The law would standardize GPA calculations across the state.

This new proposal addresses many concerns from previous drafts, now including some art, career, and technical education courses and giving more weight to AP classes.

All courses selected in the Recommended High School Program would count in GPA calculations. Those Recommended High School Program courses, which are used as a graduation outline, would include four years of social studies, four years of English, four years of math, four years of science, two years of a foreign language, one year of fine arts, and three and a half years of college preparatory electives. Any AP or technical education courses that the Texas Higher Board of Education believes prepare students for college would be counted as well.

This state proposal could cut physical education participation and some fine arts classes from these calculations. Also, it would allow less room in the schedule for vocational learning.

Students would earn points on a four point scale under this proposal, rather than the five point scale that CPHS currently has. An A in regular classes would be worth four points and AP, International Baccalaureate, and dual-credit courses would all get a full additional point. Pre-AP and Pre-IB classes would only be worth an extra half point. Originally the board suggested that the Pre-AP classes not count for any supplementary points. If the law is passed, the board will appoint a committee that will ensure that Pre-AP and Pre-IB classes are difficult enough to earn the bonus weight.

Many students disagree with this proposal.

“They shouldn’t take away the extra points for Pre-AP classes because they are still very challenging and you should be rewarded,” Ada Zhang, sophomore, said.

Many people think that not allowing students to earn the extra full point for Pre-AP classes takes away some of the incentive to take the more challenging classes. 

“It’s not a good idea to take away the full points,” Katy Burris, sophomore, said. “If you have an initiative to challenge yourself, you earn these points.”

Others think that since the Pre-AP classes are not college level, half of a point would suffice. There is no customary approach to take on teaching a Pre-AP class, so thereisn’t a way to ensure that they are all taught at the same level.

“”I understand because Pre-AP is still not AP, no matter how you look at it,” Hailey Rosen, junior, said.

Some board members agree that it would be for better for the future of students to follow through with this.

“If we implement the college readiness standards statewide, that would essentially mean that all classes are Pre-AP, which is a good thing,” Raymund Paredes, Texas Higher Education employee, said.

Whether or not this proposal comes into effect will be determined in January 2009 and, if accepted, it will start in May with the 2009 freshmen. GPA points would not be taken away from high school students who have previously taken Pre-AP classes before 2009.