• Uniform GPA Proposed

    The Texas Legislature, during the last session, mandated a uniform method for calculating a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) be adopted statewide. A forty-one member advisory committee to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) spent the past two years developing a plan they could recommend to the THECB for implementation in fall 2009. Members of the advisory group included parents and administrators from high schools across the state as well as higher education officials, and representation from the state’s leading educational organizations including the Texas Parent Teacher Organization and the Texas Classroom Teachers Association. (view Advisory Committee names and credentials at http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/os/uniformgpa/advisory%20committee.cfm)

    The following is a brief summary of the proposal by the Advisory Committee:

    • Scheduled to be in place for grade 9 students entering fall, 2009 (Enter the 9th grade from May 1, 2009 onward)
    • Courses included are the foundation subjects (English, Math, Science, and Social Studies) and languages other than English
    • Weights (Scale is 4 point)
      o AP/Dual Credit – 4 point scale + 1
      o Foundation Subjects and Languages Other Than English– converted to 4 point scale
    • Use is mandatory for state university admissions, calculating the top 10 percent, and some grants
    • District can have dual systems (Attorney General’s ruling)
    • Courses under the high school curriculum that are offered at middle school as well as out-of-state courses can be counted (if state credit toward Recommended or Distinguished is awarded for them)
    • Implementation date may be phased-in (AG’s ruling)

    For a complete explanation of what is being considered, go to the THECB Website at http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/ and click on “Uniform GPA Key Updates”. At this page, click and read two of the topics listed; “Proposed rules for Uniform GPA” and “Key Update on Uniform GPA”. These pages will provide thorough and complete information regarding the proposed rules.

    Some of the major items/areas of concern expressed by local Districts are:

    1. The lack of any weighting for Pre AP/IB courses,
    2. The issue of whether AP and Dual Credit should be weighted the same,
    3. No consideration of fine arts and career tech courses being included in the calculation, and
    4. Many students who attend private or out-of-state universities may not be served as well by the Uniform GPA as by one which reflects accomplishments within their local school district.

    Several districts have suggested that since the need for standardization is at the Higher Education level, then the calculation of a standardized GPA could be accomplished by the colleges at the beginning of the application process. College Admission Officials could simply take the courses completed with the grades earned and calculate a “Standard GPA” for their own purposes. That would allow local school districts to continue to calculate GPA in their districts, and for their students, in the way that most accurately reflects their programs and best showcases the skills, abilities, and accomplishments of their students.

    Public input to the THECB is being sought up to October 19, 2008 on the issue of the Proposed Implementation Date and written comments will be accepted after October 6, 2008 regarding the Proposed Calculation Formula (it is unclear if there is a deadline for this). You may wish to refer to Sub-topic 4.a. of the “Key Update ….” document previously referenced. Contact information for the eleven THECB members is listed online at www.thecb.state.tx.us/Board.

    All input received is scheduled for discussion on October 22, 2008 at the THECB in a 10:00 AM joint committee meeting which will be broadcast online.

    The issue is scheduled for consideration and possible adoption at the Quarterly THECB Meeting to be held at 8:30 AM on October 23, 2008.