GPA bill causes strife


“I don’t like the proposal,” said Katy ISD superintendent Alton Frailey about the proposal to make a major change to how GPA is calculated throughout Texas high schools.

School administrators and students alike are polarized by the Texas Legislature’s bill requiring the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to come up with a way for all Texas high schools to standardize their GPA calculations. That way, when a Texas student applies to an in-state college, the college would better recognize the GPA (currently, it could mean different things depending on the school’s academic rigor).
Former Mane Event editor Nadine Tan said, “It’d be a pretty effective way to determine who the real high-achievers are. They’ll be the ones sitting in the AP classes, unfazed by this controversy.”

After the outcry from educators and administrators throughout Texas, Board Commissioner Raymund Paredes relented at the October 22 meeting where he formally announced his plan. They reached a compromise, and the resulting proposal would include the following: changing the maximum weighted GPA for all Pre-AP courses to 4.5 instead of 5.0, changing the term “Pre-AP” (possibly “Honors”), adding a 5.0 weighted GPA to all dual-credit courses, changing failing grades from 70 and below to 60 and below, and calculating GPA to the third decimal point.

The only classes that would use the 5.0 scale would be English, science, social studies (excluding macro-economics), math, and foreign languages. Also, students in AP and duel credit classes whose grade drops below a C- would not receive credit; however, academic-level students would earn credit down to a D-.

Though this proposal would be widely adopted by school districts, it would not require the approval of either the Commissioner of Education or State Board of Education. This leaves the proposal’s ratification up to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Legislature.
The proposal would not be retroactive; all students already in ninth grade or higher as of April 30, 2009 will not be affected. Despite this, current high-schoolers still have strong feelings against the deal, as junior Rachel Sellers said, “Had this proposal happened when I was a freshman, I definitely would have made different choices about what classes I took.”

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and the Texas Legislature both agree on a state-wide standardized GPA, leaving the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board the sole duty of determining how that may be carried out. The revised plan will be up for consideration at their next meeting January 2009.