How does GPA work in your local high school?

So today I discovered that if DC1 gets a 90% in a non-honors class (like JV orchestra), that is a 3.0.  Not a 4.0.  Not a 3.5.  A 3.0.  DC1’s 99% in orchestra this semester is a 3.9.  A 90% in an honors or AP class is a 4.0.

When I grew up, any kind of A was a 4.0 if there weren’t + or -.  If there were + and – then an A+ and A were both 4.0 but an A- was like 3.67 and a B+ 3.33 or something.  That’s the same way it still works in most colleges I’m acquainted with.

So at DC1’s high school, a kid can get straight As and have a 3.0.

That seems so weird to me.

Are all high schools doing it this way, or is DC1’s different?  And will everything have to be recalculated when applying for colleges?

18 Responses to “How does GPA work in your local high school?”

  1. Michael N Nitabach Says:

    When I went to prep school in the 70s & early 80s, we got graded on scale from 1 to 7, where 1 is the best & 7 the worst. At some point, they switched to a regular A-F scale.

  2. delagar Says:

    Not that way at my kid’s high school — which was why he could get a D in Latin and still have an overall 3.8 average. (Because he was taking AP classes, in which an A was a 5.0.)

  3. rose Says:

    I’d ask at the school why they do it this way and for written evidence letter head that all post high school institutions are in agreement with this way of grading and doing grade point averages and understand this unconventional process………… THEN, I would go to your institution and ask them if admittance works that way cause……….. See if that office knows someone in admissions at HAvey Mudd and ask HM if that is how they read transcripts too………..
    YES I am upset. I have seen such attitudes of ‘EVERYONE knows this is a super special high school so they give our students extra ………………..’ I just ran out of polite words.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’m not particularly concerned about it since DC1 is only taking 4 semesters of 4.0 courses instead of 5.0 (JV orchestra and PE). IIRC Harvey mudd looks at transcripts holistically rather than at the gpa. Like Leah says, these get standardized by colleges.

      • Ally Says:

        My school had a 7 point scale instead of a 10 point scale, so a 90 certainly wasn’t an A but I don’t remember what it was.

        Regular classes went with an A+ being 4.3, A was 4.0, A minus I’m assuming was a 3.7 or something. Honors added 1.0 on, AP added 2.0 on. (Which is why for my first semester of AP Bio I had a gloriously ridiculous 6.3 on my report card. I’d dropped to a 6.0 by the end of the school year.) But that was 20 years ago, who knows what it is now.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Weighted grades were just starting to be a new-fangled thing in some districts that liked to be on the cutting edge when we were in college. A 7 point scale seems crazy! How do you even think about that when you’re used to 4 points or 100%?

  4. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Ours was A = 4 but AP As = 5, so you could get straight As and a 4.0 or straight As in all AP (and maybe Honors?) could result in a GPA between 4-5. I’m not sure what our current high schools do but they don’t offer very much in the way of AP classes.

  5. Leah Says:

    Our high school does weighted grades, but anything over a 93.5% is an A and therefore a 4.0. 90% is an A- and something like a 3.8 (I can’t recall the exact number). AP classes get higher weighting.

    All of these generally get recalculated by colleges to a standard scale.

  6. SP Says:

    My high school was like yours, with +/- distinctions (except A+). We didn’t have AP, so 4.0 was the best you could do. I had straight A’s with the exception of A- in PE and A- or B+ in keyboarding, and I’m still a bit annoyed by that fact. Boo hoo. Not that it mattered – I applied nowhere elite anyway.

    From what I can tell, our local high school uses A or A+ or A- = 4, B or B+ or B- = 3, etc. There is no concept of + and – in terms of GPA. They also don’t give out 5s for AP or honors courses (a little surprising). Are any high school classes graded on curves, or is that not a thing until college? I don’t remember.

    I’ve never heard of taking the percentages into GPA. On one hand, that approach allows for better differentiation between students. Someone who got an 89 probably mastered the material much better than someone who got an 80, but in the local HS here, they would both get a 3.0 On the other hand, when you are getting to that level of precision, it seems like the differentiation between students is tighter than one could accurately measure (in terms of knowledge/mastery).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      A lot of it really just measures the teacher’s grading scale (EVERYONE in programming is getting a high A– at this level they just keep working on the program until it runs correctly so you get 100% or 0%, and since most of it is in-class…) or if the teacher curves then the effort of the other students in the class. So there’s a lot of luck in those small %s. *shrug*

  7. FF Says:

    The local high school here in upstate NY grades by percent. The high school I graduated from in NYC (late 70s-early 80s) also graded by percent, with no weighting for AP. I never had grades on a 4-pt scale until college.

  8. xykademiqz Says:

    In our local high school, any A (AP or not) is 4.0. AP differs from a regular class (other than being harder) only in the fact that you can take the final AP test and, if you get I think 5 or more out of 6 on it, then you can apply those credits toward college degree; that’s all. AP classes don’t help the GPA at all.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That’s how it was for me growing up too.

      Re AP tests: I think they’re out of 5, and whether or not they’re accepted for college credit depends on the college, the specific test, and on the score. We got a webpage about all of this when DC1 started the History AP test zie is in… somewhere there’s a webpage that lets you see which AP tests are accepted at what scores by which colleges. I should dig that up– it was really interesting. (My undergrad didn’t accept any APs other than BC calculus, so I cancelled all the ones I was signed up to take after I got in… I think they no longer let you do that.)

      • xykademiqz Says:

        You’re probably right, it may have been 4 out of 5 on AP needed to count at our state flagship. Eldest was on top of this info when he was in high school, so I never looked at it in great detail (and I didn’t go to high school in the US). I remember Eldest had Calc AB, Calc BC, AP World History and AP Music Theory counting for college, and I know there were some others but I forget now. He also tool a bunch of honors but not AP IIRC.

  9. yetanotherpfblog Says:

    My high school didn’t distinguish +/-, so a 90.0 would be a 4.0 and a 89.9 would be 3.0. Honors and AP courses would get an additional 0.025 or 0.05 added to their overall GPA up to a maximum threshold. So, someone who took 5 Honors classes and 1 AP class and got B’s across the board including non Honors courses would get 3.0+5×0.025+0.05 = 3.175.

  10. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    Our high school definitely does not do that! My current employer does have +/- which are different GPAs though. Except an A and an A+ are the same, which seems unfair to me.

  11. First Gen American Says:

    Wow. I have no idea and I have a freshman. There is a college prep night coming up. I guess that’s a good question to ask.


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