To help parents and students better comprehend this issue, we have provided a sampling of organizations (below) that each have their own unique formulas for calculating a student's GPA, what courses they use in their GPA's, and how they evaluate them:
As you'll note in the USC Freshman profile (above), most private and independent colleges use an unweighted GPA in their admission review process. That does not mean they don't care about AP or Honors course work. Private schools prefer to focus their attention on the overall rigor of a student’s program and how that student performed in the context of the school they attended - rather than assigning arbitrary points for advanced level courses in the GPA. The one thing that all colleges want to see is that students have challenged themselves in high school by taking the most rigorous curriculum they are capable of. This is clearly the best predictor of future success in college. Thus, the primary reasons a student should take Honors or Advanced Placement (AP) courses would be to learn more, to challenge themselves, and to prepare themselves for college - not for artificial grade points that their high school may choose to assign. Colleges will ultimately take the rigor of a student's overall program into account when they evaluate the transcript - each school in their own unique way!
For all of the aforementioned reasons, the OPHS faculty believes that weighted grade points on the high school transcript should not be a deciding factor in a student’s course selection process. We always encourage students to take the most rigorous courses they are capable of in the subjects where they have both demonstrated ability and passion. Accordingly, effective with the class of 2010 Oak Park High School no longer assigned weighted grades for any courses. The OPHS GPA is calculated on a 4 point scale using the following grade points for all classes:
A= 4 grade points; B= 3 grade points; C= 2 grade points; D= 1 grade point; F= 0 grade point.
Below is an example of how OPHS calculates it's unweighted GPA:
English II Honors
European History AP
Physical Education II
Total Grade Points
Total Grade Points divided by
20/6 = 3.33 OPHS GPA
How do the UC & CSU Systems Calculate The High School GPA?
As referenced above, the UC & CSU systems have their own criteria for calculating a high school GPA. For informational purposes we have provided a brief summary of their criteria, and an example of how it compares to the OPHS GPA.
The GPA for UC & CSU eligibility is the average of grades earned in the required “a-g” subjects completed in grades 10-11. Extra points are awarded for up to 8 semesters of UC-certified honors coursework. In the selection process however, individual UC campuses may use a variety of other GPA’s - some capped at 4.0, some uncapped, some with a limit on the number of extra points allowed for UC-certified honors, and some with no limit on honors points.
Below is an example of how UC & CSU will calculate the same student's GPA:
*English II Honors & Biology Honors are not UC approved Honors courses.
**Physical Education is required for H.S. graduation but is not a course that the UC or CSU use for the determination of admissions eligibility.
Why doesn’t Oak Park rank? Many private/independent universities and scholarships want to know how a student has performed within the context of their school. In the class of 2010 we currently have 7 students with perfect 4.0 GPA's, and 47 more with unweighted GPA's of 3.75 or or higher. At Oak Park High School a 3.75 GPA doesn’t even place a student in the top 10% of their class! Furthermore, we have an additional 52 seniors with cumulative unweighted GPA’s above 3.50 that would only rank them in the top 30% of their class. At a high performing school such as ours, it is a challenge to adequately give recognition to so many outstanding students. As a result, we chose six years ago to delete a student’s class rank from our transcripts. This practice is gaining wide acceptance at the country's most prestigious college preparatory high schools. Accordingly, whenever a class rank is requested, we simply respond “Oak Park H.S. does not rank” and refer them to our School Profile for more information about Oak Park High School.
There are a variety of policies with respect to repeating courses depending on what context a student's transcript is being reviewed.
Note: It is important to note that in cases were a student has earned a "D" or higher grade the first time they took a class, they will not receive additional credit towards graduation when they repeat the class. So, student's should always consider the impact on their progress towards graduation when repeating a class they have already received credit for. Students should always discuss the credit issue with their counselor before repeating a class. They should also confirm that a course they want to take for remedial purposes will be considered equivalent to the original class they took at Oak Park.
Note: When repeating classes where a student originally earned a C or higher - Oak Park High School will use use the new grade when recalculating the student's OPHS GPA. The UC's however, do not treat repeats the same way as Oak Park High School. If a student repeats a course used to satisfy the UC's "a-g" requirements in which he or she originally earned a grade of C or higher, the repeated grade will not be used in calculating the UC GPA. What OPHS does when calculating its GPA (in C or higher repeat situations) has no bearing on how the UC system will calculate its GPA .
All Students Class of 2010 & beyond: Must take all classes (core and elective) for a letter grade. The one exception is when 10th grade students receive Athletic credit in lieu of PE for their participation in a CIF sanctioned sport, Dance or Cheer team. In these cases student's will have a "P" for Pass grade entered on their transcript. A "P" carries no grade points, and has no impact on the student's GPA.
Scholastic Eligibility for co-curricular activities: To be eligible for participation in co-curricular activities (i.e. sports, drama, ASB etc..), students must maintain a 2.0 or "C" grade point average with no "F" (fail) grade in all classes taken during the preceding marking period. Eligibility will be checked only at the quarter and semester report card times. Students with a 2.0 GPA and one "F" may be granted a probationary period to participate by petitioning the Eligibility Committee at the time of final clearance for each season/production. Scholastic probation may be granted to a student only once in his/her high school career.
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