A Project for Better Journalism chapter

The Honor of Weighted GPAs

The Northampton High School Student Senate has decided to bring the issue of implementing weighted GPAs to NHS. If you are unaware of what a weighted GPA means, it’s when students who take an AP or Honors course will have a higher grade value than a student who took a regular course. The schools that weight GPAs all do it differently, but most work off of a 5-point scale. For instance, if one student took a regular English 11 course and another student took AP Junior English, and both of them got an A, the student who was in the AP course would have a higher grade value in the end because the A in the AP course counts for more points than the A in the regular English 11 class.

Weighting GPAs would be a good idea for Northampton High. It would benefit a lot students for a few reasons. Currently AP and Honors students can be rejected from the National Honors Society because they chose to challenge themselves with more difficult classes, and which therefore led them to have a GPA below 3.4. This allows students who have taken regular courses, electives (ex. baking/culinary arts, ceramics, gym, etc.), and have a high GPA because of it to get in easily. It’s unfair for the kids who take AP/honors courses and don’t do as well as they might in a regular course to not get into National Honors Society just because they don’t have a 3.4. If administration decided to weight GPAs, it would allow students who challenge themselves by taking a higher level course (and don’t necessarily get A’s in them) to still have an opportunity to get into the National Honors Society.

“I believe it gives a greater importance on academic clubs such as The National Honors Society and allows kids who take harder classes but don’t do as well the chance to be recognized,” said senior Lauren Kennedy.

Another reason students may benefit from weighing GPAs is because the juniors and seniors at NHS are allowed to take courses at Smith College and students need a higher GPA to take a Smith course so weighting them would benefit these students. This means that, if a student has a 3.4 and/or got a five on the AP test for a specific course, the student is eligible to take a class at Smith. If NHS implements weighted GPAs it will allow more students to take Smith courses.“I think the school should at least provide a weighted GPA.” Said Lauren. “(Because) while looking for colleges it’s much easier to compare your GPA to theirs when weighted, seeing as theirs is usually weighted as well.” As many people might oppose weighting GPAs, in the long run I believe it could really benefit our students.

While there are many reasons to implement weighted GPAs, there is one thing that might become a problem. Weighting GPAs would allow a lot more students to be in the National Honors Society because many students are very close to the GPA cut-off. It might start to become a problem if too many students are admitted into the Honors Society.

As this might cause a small conflict within students and administration, when it comes to weighting GPAs the pros outweigh the cons. If I were to propose a solution, I would compromise and say that the school either weights the our GPAs or changes the standards for admittance into the National Honors Society. This could be having a requirement of at least one AP/Honors course in order to be in the Honors Society or lowering the average GPA for admittance.