GPA Study Yields Options
Last year, as the issue of class rank was being discussed, conversations also arose regarding the issue of how students are ranked and which courses count toward their grade point average (GPA). It was discovered that CISD's current policy carried the perception of “unfairness” since some elective courses were included in the GPA calculations and some were not. The biggest issues were: 1) whether or not counting elective courses would encourage or discourage students from taking those courses, and 2) how to craft a grading policy that would be equally beneficial to the top 20% of students as well as the remaining 80%.
Under the chairmanship of Todd Kettler, Director of Advanced Academics, a 30 person GPA Committee of parents, teachers, students, counselors, and administrators was formed. Their charge by the Board of Trustees was multi-tiered: 1) review the grading scale, 2) discern which courses currently count under the existing policy, 3) determine which courses could or should be weighted, 4) research grading policies of other districts, and 5) bring the information to the Board before the start of the spring 2011 registration period. The GPA Committee did include correspondence and online courses (distance learning courses) in their review, as well as credit by exam (CBE) courses.
Grading policies of 24 other school districts with similar demographics and proximity were investigated. After the nearly year-long study, which included 12 meetings totaling over 20 hours plus time spent on gathering additional information, a summary of the GPA Committee's top five options was presented to the Board of Trustees including the Dual Calculated GPA and Rank In Class (RIC) options. Under the RIC option, based on the Round Rock ISD Model, GPA would be calculated on two separate data points, GPA and RIC. Click here to view all options.
Director of Advanced Academics and Committee Chairman Todd Kettler said, “Our main concern was developing a policy that would be fair for all students whether they're in the Top 10% or the middle of the class. We think we've achieved that.”
The Board of Trustees will continue to take public input regarding GPA options during the Open Forum portion of the Board Meeting set for Monday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m. Decisions made regarding this policy change would take effect with the incoming freshman class of 2011 and would not affect the GPA of current high school students.