Weighted grades?

Avatar for cmlisab
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2011
Weighted grades?
Mon, 03-04-2013 - 3:38pm

I was reading the discussion in the high school section below about AP classes and saw something called "weighted grades" being mentioned. What are these? Is it a high-school only thing and do all high schools have them? My oldest is only in 7th grade so we haven't encountered anything like that and I don't remember having weighted (and non-weighted) grades "back in my day".

Just curious! Smile


Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Mon, 03-04-2013 - 4:16pm

A weighted grade means you get extra points for GPA calculation. In general, at the high school level, an unweighted "A" is worth 4 points. A weighted "A" is worth 5 and of course, can bump your GPA up. In general, kids get weighted grades for Honors, AP, IB or duel enrollment classes. 

Universitie admission offices each have their own systems of calculating GPAs and dealing with weighted classes though. Some will give only a fraction of a point, for example. How much your weighted grades are worth depends on where you apply.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Mon, 03-04-2013 - 5:10pm

It is a high school thing that's used to calculate class rank for the seniors.  Different schools do it differently.  Turtletime's example is similar to the one used at my DS's Catholic school, but our public school does it differently.  Grades are weighted by 110% if it's an honors class, 130% for AP. Those grades never show up anywhere on their reports - just used to calculate class rank.  (And then class rank only counts for identifying the valedictorian, salutatorian, and the rest of the top 10% - it's not divulged for anyone else.)

However, since schools do weight their grades differently from each other, many colleges will not look at the weighted grades, just the unweighted. 

The reason for weighting is to avoid situations whereby students take unchallenging classes and get straight 100s, thereby scooting into the top spots in the class and bumping out students who took harder classes.  This was the situation for my sister back in 1971, though she was the beneficiary:  she graduated from HS a year early, taking only an extra course of English to meet the requirements for graduation; because she didn't take the harder senior year classes, she was named valedictorian, to the fury of the salutatorian.  The same situation was still in place in 1979, when my best friend pulled the same trick.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-1999
Mon, 03-04-2013 - 8:11pm

In our high school, honors and APs are weighted equally with .3 added to the grade. The enhanced grades do show up on the transcript but they are primarily important for ranking, even though the ranking is only by quintile.   The weight added to the grades becomes important when looking for merit scholarships that tend to be numbers-driven and admission to state schools that also tend to be less holistic in their admissions, relying heavily on gpa and test scores.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Tue, 03-05-2013 - 10:10am

I think all the other ladies covered it all for the most part.  It basically encourages the kids to take harder classes because then the weighting gives them a boost even if they score a bit lower because it was a harder class.  ODD's school has a scale, she calculates her own all the time, but I don't know what it is.  Like others said, it doesn't show up on the report card for GPA except for class rank purposes.  When she applied for college the college asked for both her weighted and her unweighted GPA on its application.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-1999
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 7:50pm

At the high school my kids attended, only AP classes were weighted.  (A is 5.0, B is 4.0 C is 3.0; no D's in our school; only F's after that.)  Their transcripts had their weighted and unweighted GPA's and class rank.  (Interestingly, her unweighted was higher than her weignted at the beginning of senior year.)  Our school system does not have valedictorian, but summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude.  That way they are competing against a standard, not against each other.  It prevents some of the situations where they are constantly trying to see what the other students are taking and trying to "one up" each other.  I believe summa required at least a 4.25 and at least 4 AP classes.  Magna required at least 2 AP classes and a 4.0.  DD got a 79 in an AP class junior year (C), but got an A in an AP class senior year, so they balanced out and she was still able to graduate Magna.  Graduating Summa would have meant getting an A in every class they had taken throughout high school if they only had the minimum 4 AP's.  Talk about pressure!  DD only took 2 junior year and 1 senior year based on the classes she wanted, not what rank she would be.



iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 6:56pm
If you go to the College Confidential website (and only do this with your BS glasses on, because there is a lot of exaggeration there), you will see a lot of discussion about weighted vs unweighted grades. Most of the top colleges recalculate your GPA anyway, so whatever weight your HS applies really doesn't matter.