From classroom trends to school board decisions, Class Act will keep you updated on all the school issues followed by the Star Tribune’s education reporters. Contributors include Steve Brandt, who covers Minneapolis; Kim McGuire, who covers the west metro; Erin Adler, who covers the south metro; Anthony Lonetree and Libor Jany, who cover St. Paul and the east metro, and Paul Levy and Shannon Prather, who cover the north metro.

Burnsville-Eagan-Savage makes change in GPA calculations

Posted by: Erin Adler Updated: June 18, 2014 - 12:22 PM

Thanks to a recent school board decision, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage secondary students may see a boost in their grade point averages (GPAs) next year, without hitting the books any harder.

A student's GPA "is simply a numerical way to reflect grades," said Principal Dave Helke.

When calculating GPA, each letter grade -- A, B, C, D or F -- receives a numerical value. An 'A' typically receives a '4' and each other letter grade gets a point less than that. An 'F' gets no points.

The board voted to give all 'minus' grades -- A-, B-, C- and D- -- a one-tenth of a point increase, awarding 3.7 points for an A-, for example, instead of 3.6 points, the previous value given.

The change comes after a parent "called with a very personal story of how GPA had impacted some things going on with her child," said Helke.

Helke and the board did some research, and realized that a majority of metro-area schools give students the higher value, resulting in higher GPAs overall.

Even a small difference like that can affect things like scholarships and class rank, he said.

"One one-thousandth, one one-hundredth of a point can really make the difference between making a cut and not making a cut," he said.

The new value will be given to all 'minus' grades beginning in the fall, the registration guide will be updated, and all the GPAs of all seventh through 12th grade students' GPAs will be recalculated at that time.

This year's grads won't see any GPA changes, however.

"So, is this retroactive back to 1985?" joked Jim Schmid, board chairman. "Ok, I'll take that as a no."

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