Grades at Berkeley High School

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Calculating semester GPA at Berkeley High

Feb 2015

My son is a junior at BHS, so I've been aware for some time that BHS calculates semester grades in a way that ''plus'' or ''minus'' grades are not taken into consideration, and that everything is rounded either up or down to a ''straight'' A, B, C, etc. to calculate cumulative GPA.

So anyway, in one of my son's subjects this past term, he received an A- as his first quarter grade; and a B+ as his second quarter grade. He got a B+ on his final (just a few points short of an A-, he says), so his semester grade, numerically, would have been a B+. However, because BHS only records ''straight'' letter grades, his report card (and transcript) shows his semester grade as a B. That seems rather unlucky for him and not quite representative of the quality of work he demonstrated in that class. In other words, he could have just done straight-B or B- work through both quarters and on the final and arrive at the same result.

I'm wondering what the underlying logic is in calculating grades this way. Is this the trend among other high schools in the Bay Area or nationally? Way back in the day when I attended high school, college, and grad school, grades were calculated with ''plus'' and ''minus'' grade points taken into consideration. I really don't care that much, other than that now that my son is starting to think about college applications and such, it seems that the cumulative GPA is a gatekeeper of sorts. (Yes, I know about the AP grade bump, but I'm not taking that into consideration at that at the moment.) BHS parent

As a parent of a student who chronically received B+ in honors math at BHS, I would say be reassured at least that everyone is in the same boat and the colleges know how each HS grading system works. At least all the A-'s show up as A's, and even the most ambitious student might have had several A-'s in their career, probably more than B+'s so the GPA is actually pulled up. My other child's demanding private school has all the + and - included in the calculation, and its extremely hard to get a full-on A grade, so the GPA for the same work seems to trend lower.

Some of the grading policies at my kid's school was getting to me at first, but I learned to be philosophical. Dig around on some of the college stat websites where you can calculate your chances at different school (Niche.con) and you will see how many kids with 4.0 (unweighted) GPAs are rejected at the most selective school, while accepting kids with lower GPAs. Reportedly Stanford rejects hundreds of class valedictorians every year.

Also in regards to extra weighting for honors/ AP classes: Having just traversed the college application ordeal with my BHS student, I would say most colleges don't really care about weighted GPA. They talk more about course rigor which is nebulous (and use your standardized test scores more than they admit). Then there are the UCs with their own weird calculation system which only takes into account 1/2 of your HS record. My BHS senior just got straight A's with 4 APs as a senior (with first A in math in 2 years!) and the UCs don't even look at senior grades when making admission decisions. There is no way there will ever be a truly fair system. In Europe, because a college education is state-subsidized to be free or almost free, they use high-stakes testing and ignore grades and extracurriculars- they feel it levels the playing field and is more fair than accounting for how individual schools and teachers least if you are good at standardized tests.

Que sera sera

Grades at BHS - Does a ''minus'' or a ''plus'' get calculated differently?

Jan 2014

Will someone please give us some info about grading at Berkeley High and how GPA is calculated? Do they give ''A-'' or ''B+''s? If yes, how is an A- weighted in the GPA for example? We don't understand how this works. Thank you. New BHS/high school parent

Berkeley High does not record plus or minus grades. Aaron Glimme Science Department Co-Lead

An A, an A-, and an A+ all get counted as an A, or a 4.0 for grades at berkeley high. If it is a recognized honors course (for example, recognized by UC as honors) then the grades are (i think they say) weighted. So a 4.0 class grade in a recognized honors course would be a 5.0. Not all colleges consider weights for determining GPAs. Another BUSD Parent