KEEP Weighted Grades in Elmbrook Schools
Thank you everyone for your support! And because of our united effort, the Proposal of Moving Away from Weighted Grades has been pushed back! Following is a email I received on 12/6/2017 from Superintendent Mark Hansen:
Thanks for the update. We are working on an update for our Friday email message outlining the directive the Board provided last night. We will be communicating a continuation of the weighted grade policy as is current practice. We will certainly continue to evaluate this as part of our regular review of school district policy which is required every three years.
To the Elmbrook School Board,
I am writing to you regarding to the coming proposal of "'moving away from weighted grades".
I got this email last weekend and that was my first time learning about the proposal. I didn't have too much time to do the research. However, based on the reading I had been doing during the weekend about weighted grades, I have to raise my concern about this proposal that would ultimately affect Elmbrook school district maybe even more.
Firstly, when I got the email about this proposal, I tried to find more information on the school website. All I can find was a simple three graphs post about the "Weighted grades board discussion" that states " pros and cons of our current policy have been identified and a recommendation to move away from weighted grades will be considered beginning with the graduating class of 2022".
Elmbrook Schools District has been highly regarded for its academic excellence. A lot of families were attracted by the district academic reputation and decided to move to Brookfield/ Elm Grove. This proposal will have direct impact on the academic level for the district and therefore it should not be a simple decision without taking consideration of options of the Elmbrook families.
As for the weighted grade system, please do share with all Elmbrook about the findings and research that was done. For what I have found so far, the weighted grades system has far more advantage than the unweighted grades system.
Weighted grades plays important parts during college applications. School Admissions officers look for students who push their intellectual horizons, take demanding classes, and have rigorous course loads. Additionally, colleges prefer students who are willing to step out of their comfort zone and take courses that they know will push them.
As such, a weighted GPA tends to be more important in the admissions process for the simple reason that they can help communicate how challenging a student’s course load is. A Weighted GPA demonstrate how many advanced classes a student has taken, and his/her performance in them. An Unweighted GPA simply do not capture that aspect of the course load. And Weighted GPA is especially important for extremely competitive schools.
For those colleges such as University of Michigan that take the high school GPA (extra weight included) and using it as it's measure, unweighted grades definitely are at a disadvantage. So if two students from different high schools have basically the same grades but one student has a higher GPA because of extra weight, Michigan is going to give more value to the applicant with the higher, ergo, inflated GPA. Other colleges have different formulas for recalculating GPAs, and without the college going public on its policy, there’s no way to figure out just how they do it. In the case of University of Michigan, unweighted GPAs are at a disadvantage.
Weighting also can reduce ceiling effects by spreading out the GPA distribution at the high end, and it can insure that AP- participating students have an advantage in class rank calculations.
I asked my son, who is a 10th grade student in Brookfield Central, about if moving away from weighted grade would affect his decision of taking AP class. He told me " Of course it would. It would be so unfair to take a harder AP class and end up to have a lower GPA!". The weighted grade system definitely positively affected the district's AP participation rate. And the AP class participation rate and the passing rate has a significant impact on the national high school ranking. By moving away from the weighted grades, it would result in lower AP participation rate and the dropping of Elmbrook high schools's national ranking. And it ultimately would impact ALL STUDENTS in the Elmbrook School district!
Most of the top high schools near Greater Milwaukee area are using the weighted grades system. If Elmbrook schools district do decide to move away from the weighted grades, it might result in forcing some of the GT families to move out of the district to other districts or schools that still practice weighted grades. And it might ultimately lower the Elmbrook school rankings.
Therefore, the decision of this proposal should not be made lightly. Please share more information with the Elmbrook families and do a survey asking the community's opinion before the decision is made!
Whitney Ruiz (mother of two current and one future Elmbrook students)