GPA is one of the most important parts of a college application, and Edgemont’s grading system might not serve your interests. Edgemont, like many other schools, uses a weighted grading system, where the number of points (which contribute to one’s GPA) each class awards depends on its “difficulty”: honors and AP classes are out 6.3 (6.0 for an A), while regular classes are out of 5.3 (5.0 for an A). In a Google form Campus sent out, most students agreed higher grades warrant their increased GPA. This makes sense, since college admissions officers definitely take the difficulty of your classes into consideration, and a weighted GPA will not only reflect your performance in your classes, but also the difficulty of your classes.
However, one contentious issue involves the difference between A’s and A+’s. Currently, in order to receive an A+ in a class you need a 98.5% or above. In my opinion, which many others share, achieving this is far too challenging.
For example, in my math class we have had three tests so far, which will account for most of my grade for Quarter 1. In total, these tests add up to 125 points. Now I don’t know about you, but I usually get a point or two taken off for making a silly mistake. So if I were to lose two points in total on these tests, my grade would be a 123/125, which equals a 98.4%. The fact that, in this case, my grade would have dropped from an A+ to an A because of two lost points feels incredibly harsh.
Another example of the challenge of achieving an A+ is shown on Table 3, taken straight from the EHS School Profile. These statistics show the percentage of students from the class of 2022 who received each letter grade in these five core classes. Only 0.2% of students received an A+ in their English classes. Less than 5% of students received an A+ in their math classes, and less than 3% of students received an A+ in their science or social studies classes.
Those low percentages show just how hyperbolic the expectations are for an A+. I’ve heard many people argue that most colleges will recalculate your GPA and an A+ and an A are both worth 4 points, but I would counter this by saying there are colleges that will reward you for an A+, including Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, and Stanford.
There is also one very important detail that is missed by most: Edgemont uses a 6.0 point weighted grading scale (most schools use a 5.0 scale) to calculate your GPA, and in this system, an A+ is worth 0.3 points more than an A. On Table 1, it states that the GPA calculated using Edgemont’s grading system will be displayed on your high school transcript. This means that an A+ has a huge effect on the GPA shown on your transcript, which is arguably one of the most important stats on your college application.
The way I see it, there are two solutions to this problem. The simplest and possibly most effective solution would be to lower the percentage for an A+ from a 98.5 to a 97.0%. This will maintain the challenge of obtaining an A+ while boosting many students’ GPAs, hypothetically providing students with higher chances of getting into the college of their choice. This solution was highly popular, as 84.2% of respondents believed that this proposal would be effective. However, lowering the percentage to a 98 would have been acceptable as well.
A second solution would be to hand out more extra credit assignments. These assignments could help improve the student’s understanding of the course material while boosting their grades. After all, isn’t the purpose of a teacher to make sure that their students understand the material, not just to grade their assignments?
Both of these are viable solutions to this problem, and I hope Edgemont might just take these suggestions into consideration.
These are all taken from the EHS school profile except table 2, chart 1, and chart 2.