BY MICHELLE BURMISTROVA
Guilderland High School has been considering weighted grades for many years. There were meetings upon meetings discussing the pros and cons about the new grading system, and whether or not we should be applying it to our school. GHS finally announced weighted grades after the start of the 2014-15 school year.
A weighted grade system allows for students who have taken higher level AP and honors courses to receive a small boost in their average for taking these harder courses. For example, a 90 in a regents class stays a 90, whereas a 90 in an AP class would be weighted to be higher, so maybe it becomes a 94.
With this policy now in effect, a new problem has arisen. Weighted grades will not be retroactive, which puts sophomores, juniors, and seniors at a large disadvantage.
Currently the system is effecting all the grades this year, and will stay in effect permanently unless a change occurs. A retroactive system would mean that the grades get weighed for not only this year, but all the previous years that the upperclassmen have been here. So a senior that has taken AP courses throughout their high school career would have weighted grades for all four years, not just this year.
Without changing all grades to be weighted, colleges will see that Guilderland has a weighted grade system assume that the GPA of applicants are all weighted. In the long run, this takes away from scholarship opportunities, and acceptances to certain schools, which is a big problem for current juniors and seniors who are applying soon, or who have already applied.
On a more positive note, freshman students will now be able to reap the benefits of the weighted grade system. Since this is their first year in the high school, their grades will be weighted throughout the next four years.
From now on, students get almost rewarded for taking more challenging classes by upping the overall grade for the class. This wasn’t the case last year. If two students, one from this year and one from the previous, got the same grade, the student from this year would end up getting more points in the end which raises their overall grade. How is this fair? Retroactive grades create equal opportunities for every student, from incoming freshman to outgoing seniors.
There have been other instances where schools decide to not retroactively inforce weighted grades. Northridge High School in Middlebury decided to change their weighted grade system to be retroactive after protest from students, faculty, and parents. In the end the administration knew that retroactive weighted grades would be the best for everyone overall. Why can’t our administration do the same?
Our school board has been attempting to battle against the administration’s decision to not declare weighted grades be retroactive. They argue that it not only puts older students at a disadvantage, but it also might make or break a college acceptance. Should an AP or honors level student be denied their dream school over a few lost points in the nonretroactive weighted grade system? Does our administration want to make us, and ultimately themselves look bad in front of other schools?
Students shouldn’t be penalized for taking a harder course and not doing as well as they would do in an easier course. That is the point of having weighted grades. If we add weighted grades to students in school now, we should add it to all grades from previous years. Otherwise we neglect to appreciate the hard work of all the students from previous years.