GILFORD – Grades in advanced placement (AP) courses will continue to carry more weight at the High School, but grades for honors courses will no longer be weighted starting in the fall of 2018, if a proposed policy is approved next month.
The Gilford School Board held a first reading of the weighted grades policy Monday. The policy returns for a second reading and likely approval at the board's March meeting.
High School Principal Peter Sawyer, who had initially proposed eliminating weighted grades entirely, presented the modified proposal at Monday's meeting.
"It's really irrelevant to colleges whether we have weighted grades," said Sawyer who sought out the opinions of several college admissions officials on the subject.
Advance placement courses provide college level curriculum and tests to students in a variety of academic subject areas, such as mathematics, science, and literature. Honors courses are more accelerated and go over more material than the standard course in a given subject.
When the issue of weighted grades was first raised at the School Board's December meeting, Vice Chairman Kurt Webber said he was concerned that eliminating weighted grade would adversely affect students' class rank, and so possibly hurt their chances to get admitted to the more competitive colleges or universities.
But Sawyer said that judging from the feedback he received from admissions counselors, colleges do not place that much weight on an applicant's class rank, and Sawyer pointed out that only about half of the high schools nationally include a class rank on a student's transcript.
"What they look at is the rigor of the class and the grades they received," Sawyer explained. "It's not the SAT scores or the class rank."
And while acknowledging that some colleges and university are much harder to get into than others, Sawyer said that college admission personnel analyze student performance in much the same way. "From SNHU (Southern New Hampshire University) to Princeton they all look at students the same."
On Monday Webber said he was happy to see that grades for advanced placement courses will continue to have more weight.
"I thank weighting AP courses makes sense," he said.
Another part of the revised grading policy Gilford High would add a "diploma of distinction" that would require earning 26 class credits, a minimum GPA of 3.5 and there would be a community service component for one-half of a credit that would require a minimum of 24 hours. In addition, a diploma with distinction would require a student earn 13.5 or more credits from honors or AP classes.
NOTE: The board endorsed a proposal from Student Council representative Bridget Eldridge to include CPR training as part of health class at the high school. Eldridge, who is doing an internship with Gilford Fire-Rescue, said that Fire Department personnel who are certified CPR instructors would give CPR training twice a semester. "There are too many people who don't know what to do (when someone has a heart attack)," said Eldridge, in explaining the need to teach the procedure which helps restore partial flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and heart.