Why are our GPAs unweighted?

April 2, 2013

By Stephanie Hays

A student’s grade point average tells many different things about a student. It speaks of his or her grades and class rank, and is a huge factor in getting into college.

Hall Monitor Stephanie Hays Liberty High School

Hall Monitor
Stephanie Hays
Liberty High School

However, it does not always accurately show one thing: how hard a student worked. Unweighted GPAs do not apply the difficulty of a class in contribution to the grade a student received. So, why don’t we have weighted GPAs?

GPAs are calculated by translating every grade into a letter. An A is equal to a 4.0, an A- a 3.7, a B+ a 3.3 and so on. All of these grades are added up for every class taken, and then divided by the amount of classes taken to find the average GPA.

Unfortunately, this scale allows those who put in little effort into nonchallenging courses to have a relatively high GPA, putting them in the top percentiles of their class, even though they may not deserve it.

However, at some schools, Advanced Placement and honors classes are weighted on a 5.0 scale, showing in a GPA not only the grade earned in a class, but also the rigor and difficulty of the classes taken, more accurately showing a person’s skill in a certain subject. Also, it boosts one’s class ranking, proving useful when someone is trying to get into prestigious colleges, which usually only take students in the top 10 percent or 20 percent of their classes.

It is true that colleges do tend to put more stock in someone’s unweighted GPA. However, in high school, it’s important to use weighted GPAs to make sure that the people in the top 10 percent of the high school class actually deserve to be there. It is unfair for those students who put effort into challenging courses to not get recognized for their work, when students who put in less effort get recognized for their grades in nonchallenging courses.

While students taking rigorous courses will likely get into the college of their choice, a weighted GPA will only boost their chances, making it a beneficial choice for college-bound students.


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