Weighted GPA coming to Fraser High School in 2019-20

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published June 11, 2019

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FRASER — Students of Fraser High School, as well as their parents, will notice something new in the 2019-20 academic year.

Weighted GPA is coming this fall, offering students the ability to take accelerated or advanced placement courses and achieve higher than a 4.0 GPA.

In a recent appearance in front of the Fraser Public Schools Board of Education, FHS Principal Ryan Sines and Assistant Superintendent Donna Anderson said there were two main motives behind the change: increasing college scholarship opportunities for students, as well as encouraging a more rigorous form of study.

In a survey distributed to FHS staff, about 72% of respondents found the change “favorable.” Research was conducted to see how weighted GPA affected other school districts. Counselors were brought into the fold, reaching out to universities to determine the effects. Classes in which honor points would be recognized were also identified.

Under the school’s current model, in which 4.0 is the top possible GPA in each class, students may not feel the need to take more difficult classes due to that not negatively impacting their records. But with this change, the new weighted GPA would mean that a lower grade would have the same GPA as a higher grade in a non-weighted class.

For example, an A in a non-weighted class would be worth 4.0. But in a weighted class, such as an AP class, a 4.0 would be a B while an A would equate to a 5.0.

The changes are not retroactive, meaning students taking courses through the end of this current school year will not have their GPA affected.

“We found that several schools use a student’s high school GPA to determine eligibility for scholarships,” Sines said. “When Fraser students compete against students from schools with a weighted GPA, they may not even be considered.”

Fraser Public Schools Board of Education President Laura Edghill said the conversation had been building for a while, with increasing numbers of students developing questions when applying for college scholarships due to how weighted GPAs were compared with those that weren’t weighted.

“Fraser Public Schools offers a number of competitive advantages for our students,” she said. “Not only do we have an excellent selection of honors level and traditional AP classes, but we also offer numerous dual enrollment courses through Rochester College.

“In those classes, our Fraser High School students have the option to earn actual college credit while taking a class at Fraser High. These challenging classes make our students very competitive when applying for scholarships.”

Additionally, the district has a career and technical education department that offers students direct-to-career pathways, including professional certifications.

“We expect that the weighted grade-point system will benefit our students when applying for college scholarships,” she said. “Another important goal is that we also want to encourage them to take the most rigorous courses possible. By rewarding them with the weighted GPA, it makes our most challenging classes more attractive.”

Eric Howell, a counselor in his 12th year at FHS, said the curriculum isn’t really changing; rather, the grading scale as it pertains to points is adjusting.

Howell said he didn’t think the change was due to just one method of reasoning. He said Sines brought in recommendations based on past experiences in other school districts. Also, school staffers noticed how other Macomb County school districts were changing over to a weighted GPA system.

“The amount of technology the students have access to increases their ability to learn,” Howell said. “I don’t think a student’s skills have changed much over the past 12 years, but the ability to absorb their education from multiple pathways has made all educators have to adapt to change. This has to happen K-12, and Fraser is doing a great job of it.”

All affected courses can be found at fraser.k12.mi.us.

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