Lewisville ISD considers GPA calculation changes

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Lewisville ISD continued discussions at the Nov. 14 Board of Trustees meeting on how to curtail students making decisions based on their grade point average instead of their passions.

The board had talked last month about pushing students to pursue classes they were interested in instead of what would position them better for the future. It wanted to reduce the stress of going after a high GPA at a young age.

The policies in this proposal involve changing how grade points are calculated, changes that would begin with the class of 2021, and not allowing any middle school classes to count toward high school grade points, including classes taken on high school campuses. This change would take place starting with the class of 2024.

“To make it clean, we’re saying, ‘Hey, if you’re a middle schooler, we’re not going to allow you to chase GPA,’” superintendent Kevin Rogers said.

Beginning in 2021, the proposal would reduce the grade points that some classes are worth. Currently, Lewisville ISD high school classes are divided into four levels—zero through three— with levels two and three representing pre-AP and AP courses. Level zero coursework is multiplied by one for grade point calculations, level one coursework is multiplied by 1.1, level two by 1.2 and level three by 1.3. The proposed policy would reduce the multipliers of level two and three coursework to 1.15 and 1.2, respectively.

These courses will still be worth more, but the board hopes that by reducing the difference they can reduce the number of students making decisions purely based on GPA.

“That compression still differentiates between an AP class, a pre-AP class and an on-level class but does not create quite the level of variance that would maybe make a child take a class solely for the purpose of maximizing grade points,” assistant superintendent Joseph Coburn said. “We want to emphasize students taking what they want to take.”
The exception to this is AP Spanish 4, which would still count toward high school GPA. Coburn said this is because students in the dual language program reach that class in middle school without going out of their way, particularly students who are raised in Spanish-speaking households.

“The thing that we have talked about is not wanting kids to artificially accelerate,” Coburn said. “What we didn’t want to do was unfairly take away grade points there.”
The exception was a point of heated debate, particularly when it was brought up that this class would mostly be available only to native Spanish–speaking students who had been in the English as a Second Language program since late elementary school. Some board members like vice president Tracy Scott Miller were concerned about having the only middle school class that offers grade points being available to so few students.

Miller said that having an exception like this makes the attempt moot, since students would still be able to make decisions based on which classes offer the most grade points.
“It’s not clean. Clean to me is, ‘We don’t offer GPA credit in middle school.’” he said. “For me, it needs to be clean.”