Op/Ed 04/16/10

Valedictorian policy under new regulations

By Angelina Folchi
Roar Reporter

A new valedictorian policy was presented and passed at the school board meeting Tuesday night. The policy will be put into action next year, affecting current juniors and all classes following.
Beginning in the 2010-11 school year, grade point averages will be calculated using the CSU/UC GPA method instead of the previously used point system. This change in procedure will affect the way valedictorians and salutatorians are determined.
Under this latest approach GPAs will be figured based on all “a-g” classes completed in grades 10, 11, and the first semester of 12. For students to receive the proper amount of points added toward their GPA, the class must be on the CSU/UC Approved Course List.
Points are credited for each class as follows: A=4 points, B=3 points, C=2 points, D=1 point and F=0 points. For each AP or honors class successfully completed, an extra grade point is assigned. Students may earn up to only the equivalent of eight extra points, with only four of them in 10th grade counting.
Any grade below a C isn’t counted towards a student’s GPA, so the class must be retaken for credit with two exceptions.
There are two areas – mathematics and a language other than English – where a D or an F can be accepted if a grade in a higher-level course is a C or higher. For more information on this, see academic advisor Janet McHenry.
There are many reasons why this new policy is better than the current formula. Currently, only physical education, teacher’s aide and work experience are the only classes offered at LHS that aren’t counted in the GPA calculation for valedictorian. In the past students could manipulate a higher GPA by not taking P.E. and replacing it with another class that was worth grade points.
The former system also awarded extra points to students who were able to start honors courses before the majority of the class and to students who took extra classes over the summer. The new system limits the number of extra points awarded for AP and honors courses.
Principal Marla Stock said that there will probably always be something that can be manipulated, but the CSU/UC calculation is fair and reasonable. “I hope it’s a fairer method of giving honors. I hope we have more classes where multiple students deserve recognition.”
With the new policy, ties for valedictorian status may become more common. Class rank will also need to be figured, though, for students to submit on their college and scholarship applications.
To discern who is first in class, all honors and AP grade points earned in grades 10 and 11 will be included in the GPA. For the purpose of class rank only, there is no cap on the number of honors classes taken into account.


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