11/11/06 * Daily Progress [full story]
Albemarle County high schools may eliminate weighted grade-point averages, raising questions about the role grades should play in encouraging students to excel – and how successful students should be rewarded for it.
The county school division formed a committee this year of principals, guidance counselors, teachers and students to discuss grading changes. The group has recommended to Superintendent Pamela Moran that the county treat grades equally in all three levels of academic difficulty – standard, advanced and honors/Advanced Placement.
Don Vale, director of curriculum and instruction for the division and the committee leader, said that by eliminating the weighted GPA, students would become motivated to take a challenging course load to attract the attention of colleges and to stretch their potential, not to raise their GPA.
Under the county’s current system, standard-level courses in the county’s high schools receive no weight, while advanced courses receive 0.5 “quality points” and honors/Advanced Placement courses are given one quality point. A student who makes an “A” in four standard classes gets a 4.0 GPA; a student with the same grades in four AP classes would have a 5.0.