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How grades are calculated at C-RHS

Mrs. Smith giving freshmen advice on how to succeed in high school.

Mrs. Smith giving freshmen advice on how to succeed in high school.

The administration of Cobleskill-Richmondville High School encourages students to select a rigorous course load, and considers all classes to be of equal weight.

Students in C-RHS are graded on a 0-100 scale. A grade of 65% or higher is passing. Student average and rank are calculated on an unweighted basis at the end of a student’s junior year, the midpoint of senior year and end of senior year. Valedictorian and Salutatorian selection is based on student grades as of mid-senior year. Final grades in all subjects (including band, chorus, and orchestra, but excluding physical education) are used to determine GPA and rank.

We continually look at our grading practices for fairness and internal consistency. Administrators meet with guidance counselors and teachers, and consider educational research, college enrollment data and parent feedback to inform grading practices. This extensive review of the merits and disadvantages of our grading system has led to our decision to consider all classes equally.

C-RCS aims for well-rounded students of all abilities and aptitudes

When calculating grade point averages, about half of the schools in the country give extra points to honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Regents classes. The result sometimes pushes the GPAs of students who take those courses higher than 4.0 — the standard maximum. But not all weighted GPAs are the same.

“If you go to a high school that gives an extra .5 for an AP class you may have a GPA of 4.1 and have one of the top GPAs. But if your school gives an extra 6 points for an AP class, that 4.1 GPA may put you in the middle of your class,” observed Todd Johnson, founder of

For some educators and parents, awarding higher GPAs based on the academic rigor of a course is about ensuring students challenge themselves academically. They worry that a lack of weighting discourages students from participating in advanced courses and programs. This concern is based on the erroneous perception that an ‘easy A’ in a standard level class – and the resulting higher GPA – would be viewed by higher education institutions as better than a ‘hard B’ in an honors level class.

Every college has its own methodology for assessing student performance. Because colleges receive applications from students attending schools with and without weighted GPAs, many strip the school-provided weight from the system and look at core courses only in order to achieve an apples-to-apples comparison.

Feedback from colleges has shown that they are primary looking for students who challenge themselves, and consider an applicant’s course selection as well as his or her grades.

We encourage all students to challenge themselves

A weighted grading system may have an adverse effect on academic growth. Some educators and researchers have observed that weighting classes differently discourages students from taking electives in areas such as the fine arts or physical education, which help students become more well-rounded members of society. It can also have a negative impact on students who are challenging themselves in standard level classes, as it implies the work they are doing is less important.

As there is no unified grading system amongst high schools and no prevailing system for accepting college applicants, there will always be individual student circumstances – regardless of the grading system – that may impact acceptance to an institution or eligibility for a scholarship. With that in mind, all students are encouraged to take advantage of the many rigorous, high level courses and challenging, diverse electives available at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School. They can do so knowing that their work is highly valued, and that the educational experience of all students is valued equally.