Discussion on weighted classes brought before Board of Education
October 26, 2012
“They put themselves out there. We’ve asked them to take this rigorous step. I think they know they have to work hard.”
— Thom Schnellinger, Moffat County High School principal, about students receiving weighted grades for honors and AP classes
Although only a discussion at this point, Moffat County High School administrators are looking into adding honors and advanced placement, AP classes, on a weighted grading scale.
MCHS principal Thom Schnellinger presented an overview of possible ways the programs might look if implemented to the Moffat County School District Board of Education Thursday during the public hearing portion of the meeting.
Schnellinger spent some time researching high schools of relatively same size and staffing who had already implemented weighted classes.
Schnellinger said he found most of the schools he looked at utilized a weighted grade scale, either a 5-point scale or a multiplier, with AP designation rating higher than an honor designation.
An honors designation would use a 4.5-point scale while AP would be a 5-point scale.
Grades for honors classes in terms of grade point average weight would look like: A=4.5, B=3.5, C=2.5, D=1.5 and F=0.
Grades for AP classes from a grade point average standpoint would look like: A=5.0, B=4.0, C=3.0, D=2.0 and F=0.
School board president Sandie Johns asked Schnellinger why the school would weight anything less than a C in an honors or AP class, referring to the weighted D students may receive.
To that, Schnellinger said, "They put themselves out there. We've asked them to take this rigorous step. I think they know they have to work hard."
Schnellinger's comment alluded to the fact that honors and AP coursework is much more challenging, rigorous and time consuming than an average high school class's curriculum.
For taking on the challenge, students are rewarded with weighted grades.
But an F is still an F.
A bonus of taking AP classes is the opportunity to take the AP exam at the end of the year.
Scored on a scale of 1-5, scores of 4 and 5, and sometimes a 3 depending on which college a student attends, allows the student to enter college with credits under their belts.
The difference between AP credit and concurrent or dual enrollment with the Northwestern Community College is the credit will be accepted by almost any university.
"AP is convertible currency anywhere," Schnellinger said.
Schnellinger assured board members that if implemented the high school is committed to continuing its relationship with the NCCC, adding the college seemed on board with the idea.
Schnellinger said the weighted classes would be available to anyone who wanted to apply themselves to do it.
Schnellinger said from his experience, class sizes in higher levels and more rigorous areas tended to see less students, yet he said he was committed to making sure those classes were available.
"My desire is to see more students challenged and stepping up," Schnellinger said. "Already a little bit of buzz. I have an amazing staff that is teaching like their hair is on fire these days. I have all the confidence in the world."
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org