GPA scale set to do more harm than good

UT+Austin%27s+auto+admission+criteria+becomes+more+selective+each+year.+With+the+implementation+of+the+new+GPA+system%2C+students+will+be+forced+to+take+all+AP+or+IB+courses+in+order+to+meet+the+set+criteria.+%0A%0A%0A

Prachurjya Shreya

UT Austin's auto admission criteria becomes more selective each year. With the implementation of the new GPA system, students will be forced to take all AP or IB courses in order to meet the set criteria.

Trisha Dasgupta, Guest Contributor

Frisco ISD has stated that they will implement a new GPA scale to begin with the class of 2023, changing Pre-AP courses from weighing 6.0 to 5.5, and placing International Baccalaureate or IB courses at 6.0.

The new policy is supposed to encourage students to take courses based on personal interests, however the district does not realize that this policy could do the exact opposite.

The shifts outlined in FISD’s new scale will hinder students from choosing real world application courses, further cultivating the highly competitive culture already found in Frisco high schools today, and force students to overwork themselves.

Frisco ISD offers their high schoolers many courses designed to help them in their college and future careers. For example, students enrolled in Independent Study Mentorship or ISM, are required to set up interviews, make cold calls, find a mentor to shadow, and then use their experiences to create a final project which they present in front of hundreds of people. By the end of the year these students have learned real world skills and have worked with professionals in the field they might one day work in themselves.

Despite this, the district doesn’t recognize ISM as a rigorous course and places it on a 5.5 scale. These students are balancing an internship on top of all of their other schoolwork and their GPA suffers because of it. This sacrifice is one many students cannot afford to take, resulting in many missed opportunities and experiences. By placing ISM and similar courses, such as the classes offered at the CTE center, on lower weighted scales, FISD is depriving students from getting hands on experience they would have otherwise not received from merely reading a textbook.

The stress students face from school is already prevalent. It is not enough to have a high GPA; in order to stand out on college applications individuals must participate in multiple extracurriculars and be in leadership positions. Sometimes this results in burnout, or worse academic dishonesty, as students become obsessed with scores, working themselves to the bone to get that A. The competition is already so high, a problem FISD acknowledged when repealing class rank. The new GPA scale however, will only develop more cutthroat competition for our students.

The district believes that the new GPA scale will encourage students to select classes that they are interested in as opposed to simply choosing the ones with the highest GPA weight. The scale will not achieve this, and will instead force our students to take higher-level courses they don’t have time for. While the district is correct in assuming that many students take courses purely based on GPA weight, they fail to realise the reasoning behind these decisions.

Auto admission into schools such as The University of Texas is incredibly helpful, and every year the criteria for auto admissions is becoming more and more selective. Because of this students have no other choice than to maintain high GPAs, which can only be obtained through taking 6.0 classes. Many students taking all Pre-AP and AP courses already stay up hours into the night doing homework, and now they’ll be forced to take all AP or IB classes, which will introduce more stress and a heavier workload.

When Frisco ISD repealed class rank they made a great step to improve the lives of students in Frisco high schools. Unfortunately the new GPA scale is another step back, and will be detrimental to incoming students. The new FISD GPA policy has not been implemented yet, and will not be until the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. The district still has time to make things right and re-evaluate the possible consequences of this new GPA scale.