From the HSLDA E-lert Service:
< BACK TO ARCHIVE

Date:
From:
Subject:

10/1/2009 11:32:57 AM
Becky Cooke -- Diane Kummer HSLDA
Homeschooling High School--Computing a GPA--Yikes!

Homeschooling Thru High School
HSLDA Homeschooling Thru High School Online

October 1, 2009

Advertisement

Great SAT Prep Deal!

Homeschooling Thru Highschool Online >>

High School Notebook

HSLDA Homeschooling Now Blog: Teaching Tips

High School Teacher Training Days
Registration is open for the October and November sessions. Plan now to attend!

HSLDA Essay Contest
HSLDA is excited to announce our 11th annual essay contest designed to give students the opportunity to develop their writing and skills and showcase their talents. Cash prizes are awarded to the top five entries in each category, and the winning essays will be posted online. For complete contest details please visit our contest page.

Speaking Engagements

October 12, 2012, HSLDA Teacher Training, Purcellville, VA (Becky)

October 19, 2012, Map Your Future, Indianapolis, IN (Becky and Diane)

November 2, 2012, HSLDA Teacher Training, Purcellville, VA (Diane)

November 10, 2012, NYS LEAH Region 5 Syracuse/Central, Cicero, NY (Becky)

Join 17,000 others...

The HSLDA Curriculum Market is buzzing with activity! Save money on new and used homeschooling materials, or sell your extras.

Did you get your PerX today?

HSLDA membership can pay for itself! Retailers and service providers want to support our members with special discounts. Check out the discounts available to you today... we’ll be adding more soon!

You Can Help!

The Home School Foundation supports homeschool families in need. Whether it’s a widow or a family suffering after a natural disaster, HSF is there to help. You can give directly, or through our Clicks For Homeschooling program; online merchants contribute to HSF when you shop!

Start shopping here to contribute to HSF at no cost to you!

HSLDA’s @home e-vents

Did you catch the special @home e-vent offered by HSLDA’s High School Consultants Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer? If not, go check out our archives! Here, you can access “The College Admissions Process: The Homeschooled Student’s Guide” and all of the other incredible “at home workshops” that HSLDA has to offer!

   

Computing A GPA-Yikes!

Dear Friends,

October reminds us that we are heading down the homestretch of 2009. It’s a time to rejoice in the glorious shades of reds, browns, and golds that are visible in pumpkins, chrysanthemums, and corn stalks; the smell of fall air and apple cider; and the fun of jumping into those piles of leaves. Speaking of October, here is a riddle for you. Excluding leap years, October always starts on the same day of the week as what other month? Read to the end of the newsletter to find the answer! :)

Along with these sights and smells of fall, this time of year also brings thoughts of college visits to plan, college application deadlines for seniors, transcripts....

And that brings us to this month’s topic of calculating grade point averages (GPA). We regularly receive questions from parents asking: What is a GPA? How is it computed? We want to address these questions as well as give you additional information that you may not have even considered yet, but may need to know.

Becky Cooke
Becky
Cooke

Diane Kummer
Both of HSLDA’s high school consultants homeschooled their children from kindergarten through the 12th grade. Learn more >>

Definition

The Wiktionary definition of grade point average is "a method of computing a numerical value for letter grades received in school by assigning each a numeric value and averaging the numbers." You will notice from some of the transcript templates listed on our high school website, that there are often two sets of GPAs shown--yearly and cumulative. Each of these is calculated a bit differently so we’ll take a look at how to compute both types.

Yearly GPA

The first step to computing the yearly GPA is to convert each letter grade to points. For example, an A equals 4 points, a B equals 3 points, a C equals 2 points, and so forth. The grade points are then multiplied by the number of credits a course earned resulting in what is known as quality points. An example will clarify this operation. Let’s say that a student received a letter grade of an "A" in Algebra I. The first step is to convert the letter grade of an A to 4 points and multiply by 1 credit for a total of 4 quality points. In addition, if a student takes a one semester health course earning one-half credit and receives a "B," then calculate the quality points as follows: multiply .5 credits by 3 grade points for a total of 1.5 quality points. Continue this operation for each course your teen takes in a given school year.

The next step of the computation will be to total the quality points for all courses and divide by the total number of credits earned in a given year, rounding the answer to two decimal places. This results in the yearly GPA. You may find it helpful to review these steps on the GPA computation example we have listed in our transcript section of the website.

When calculating the yearly GPA, there are some factors to take into consideration. (Isn’t it always the case that as soon as you think something is cut and dry, someone throws you a curve?!) Well, here is one of those situations. If you give pass/fail grades for any of your courses, the credits for these courses will be included in the sum of credits shown on the high school transcript, but they will not be used in computing the GPA. When calculating the GPA, you will need to subtract the pass/fail credits out of the total number of credits for that year before dividing by the total number of quality points. An illustration may help.

Total credits for one year: 6.5 (including .5 credit for a course graded pass/fail)
Total quality points: 21.5 Compute GPA: 21.5 divided by 6 (6.5 minus .5) equals 3.58

Another curve--if you plan to attach +’s and -’s to your letter grades, then your grade points will need to reflect that. For instance, an A+ will compute to 4.3 points rather than the usual 4 points. An A-, however, will be 3.7 points; a B+ (3.3 points); B- (2.7 points); and so on.

With this information in hand, you are now ready to calculate the GPA for each individual year of high school.

Next let’s turn our attention to computing the cumulative GPA over the course of all four years.

Cumulative GPA

Since you want to show an overall average of your child’s high school work and not an average of the averages, you should not simply add up all the yearly GPAs and divide by 4 (the number of years). Instead, to calculate a cumulative GPA, it will be necessary to add all the quality points from 9th through 12th grades and divide by the sum of all four years of credits (first subtracting out any pass/fail credits).

If you wish to include a running cumulative GPA for each year of high school, then you will need to do the above operation in steps. Obviously, the yearly and cumulative GPAs for the 9th grade will be the same. For 10th grade, you will add the quality points from both 9th and 10th and divide that sum by the total number of credits (minus any pass/fail credits) for both those years. Then in the 11th grade, you will again go back to 9th grade and add all the quality points through the 11th grade and divide by the sum of the credits for those three years. The 12th grade computations will be completed in the same fashion and the resulting GPA will be both the cumulative GPA for 12th grade as well as the grand cumulative GPA for all four years of high school.

General Tips and Suggestions

In addition to the GPA, some transcript formats include a grading scale or table. Showing such a scale is optional. If you taught all the courses included on the child’s transcript, then a grading scale can be informative to the reader. On the other hand, if your child took some courses from other instructors, they may have used a different scale from yours. In this case, it would be wise not to include the scale on your transcript.

A question you may encounter when submitting your teen’s GPA is whether it is weighted or un-weighted. The GPA will be considered weighted if the student took Advanced Placement, and/or honors courses. These types of courses change the grade points attached to the letter grades. An Advanced Placement course grade will receive one point higher than a traditional grade. For example, an A will be worth 5 points rather than 4 points. An honors course grade will generate a half point increase--an A will receive 4.5 points rather than 4. If your student did not take such courses, then the GPA will be un-weighted.

Advanced Placement courses and honors courses designate that the work involved in the course is more substantial than the standard high school course. Beginning in 2008, in order to label a course "Advanced Placement" or "AP" on a high school transcript, the syllabus for a particular course must be reviewed and audited by the AP Central Department of the College Board. You may read more about this auditing procedure here:

Designating a course "Honors" on a transcript is subjective and falls to your discretion as a parent. An honors designation implies that not only a greater quantity of work was required, but also a higher quality of work than what is normally expected in a high school course. You should document for your personal records the curriculum and other materials used in an honors course and note specific information as to why a particular course was deemed honors such as making note of the number and length of papers assigned, supplemental books added to the reading list, extra experiments completed (over and above those indicated in the curriculum), etc. If any questions regarding the course content are ever raised by anyone reviewing the transcript (such as a college admission officer), then the requested information will be readily available.

In our personal opinion (other authors and newsletter readers may disagree with us), homeschooled students will receive greater recognition for taking a community college course or an AP course than an honors course, simply because the AP or community college course has an aspect of "objectivity" associated with it.

The Finished Product

GPA calculations are not difficult once you become familiar with terms such as yearly and cumulative GPAs as well as weighted and un-weighted GPAs. We hope this explanation will remove one more fear of homeschooling high school. One last word of advice--it’s a good idea for you to have someone verify the GPA because it is easy to make a mistake when calculating. We’re sure your teen may even volunteer for this job! If you are a member of HSLDA, please know that you may call us any time with questions regarding GPA calculations and we’ll be happy to walk you through the process.

Our November newsletter will provide ideas for improving and honing your teens’ study skills. Until then, we are...

Calculating how fast time is flying,
Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Consultants


"Homeschooling Thru Highschool" is a newsletter of the Home School Legal Defense Association. All rights reserved. For more information on Homeschooling Thru Highschool or the Home School Legal Defense Association please contact us at:

HSLDA • P.O. Box 3000 • Purcellville, Virginia 20134-9000
Phone: (540) 338-5600• Fax: (540) 338-
2733 • Email: info@hslda.org
Web: http://www.hslda.org/highschool

Subscription Information: You subscribed to the "Homeschooling Thru Highschool" email as:
webmaster@hslda.org

Subscribe | Unsubscribe | Change Settings

POSTMASTERS: This message is being sent to the most recent address we have for our subscribers. If this is an invalid email address or you have other problems, please reply to webmaster@hslda.org.

DISCLAIMER: This is considered a private and confidential message from HSLDA to its bonafide HSLDA E-lert Service subscribers. HSLDA cannot attest to the authenticity of copies posted, forwarded, or sent by any party other than HSLDA.

ADVERTISING WITH US: The appearance of advertisements in the Homeschooling thru High School newsletter does not imply recommendation or endorsement by Home School Legal Defense Association, and the opinions expressed by advertisers do not necessarily reflect the views of HSLDA. Use of any information, product, or service herein advertised is voluntary, and reliance upon it should only be undertaken after independent review. Caveat emptor—let the buyer beware.

NOTE: Please do not reply or otherwise use this email address; hslda@hslda.org is for broadcast purposes only and is not intended to receive incoming messages. We cannot reply to any email sent to this address. If you have comments or questions, please send email to info@hslda.org or call HSLDA at 540-338-5600. HSLDA members can also email staff directly through the Members website at http://members.hslda.org/contact.asp. Thank you for your cooperation.

© 2012 HSLDA. All rights reserved.