This past year, there has been much controversy within the Warde community over courses and their GPA weightings for future years. On January 22, 2019, an email was sent out regarding the administration’s plan for GPA weighting changes and course name updates. The message highlights five main themes among comments from the Board of Education, parents, teachers, and students that were brought up during the time period in which decisions were being made.
The issue that seems to have gained overall widespread support is changing course names starting with the 2019-2020 school year and adding an unweighted GPA calculation to transcripts as well as the weighted format. This evolvement of Warde’s naming system will make course selection simpler for incoming Freshman who may not have prior knowledge about the way courses are named as well as making it more efficient for current students. Having names that clearly represent what grade level they are for will also make interpreting Warde students’ transcripts easier for colleges when seniors’ applications are sent in. In addition to changing class names, including students’ unweighted GPA on their transcripts will help with the college process and will provide a more accurate representation of students’ grades versus having high schoolers use a GPA calculator online that may not be correct.
Next, the email states that there were “concerns about universally assigning grade weights to non-core and core electives that have traditionally been labelled as ‘Level 0.’” Classes that are considered electives are currently weighted as a 4.67 for an A+ on the GPA scale, which is the same as an Honors course. This can be viewed as unfair because someone taking a challenging Honors class and receiving an A could end up having the same GPA average due to this course as someone in an introductory elective. Therefore, in the 2020-2021 school year, electives will be judged based off of the difficulty of the course and whether it is an introductory or an advanced class, allowing it to be placed into either the Honors category or College Preparatory. In that respect this will be a very successful change. However, while it may encourage students to continue with a subject area for their electives all four years to reach that Honors level, it restricts trying out new ones later in high school because students will be unable to reach a certain GPA taking an introductory course.
Another request by the Warde community was for the school to consider “a roll-out plan that would exempt current sophomores and freshman from any changes.” While this may make life a little bit easier for these students, it would cause mayhem when entering grades and creating the master schedule. On top of this, the email explains that “we philosophically do not support students sitting in the same class, attain the same mark, but receive different GPA weights based on their grade level.” Therefore, there is no plan to allow these students a pass from grade changes.
With all of this in mind, the Warde administration has taken what they believe to be the school’s priorities into account and created a plan for the next few years on how to integrate the new changes into our current grading system. This movement does not affect the Senior class, but the rest of us will simply have to wait and see how this pans out.