This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: GPA on Homeschool Transcript- How to Handle it! This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
GPA on Homeschool Transcript– How to Handle it!
Are you wondering about the complex and stressful GPA for your child’s homeschool transcript? Well, fear not! There are effective strategies and resources available to help you navigate the intricacies of calculating GPA on a homeschool transcript. With a little help, you can ensure that your homeschool high schoolers’ academic achievements are accurately reflected.
To help you along, here are a few insights about GPAs, along with practical tools you can use to figure them out!
There’s Not ONE Right Way To Do GPAs
Even though some families are lucky enough to be in an umbrella school or a charter school that does the GPA figuring, even in those situations, moms may still want to use a different method of choosing the GPAs. That’s okay.
The thing is, there is no right way or wrong way to do GPAs. If your child is college-bound, you will most likely need to include GPA on the transcript. However, non-college bound teens do not necessarily need GPA (unless they are going to a trade school that requires it).
The GPA is a way of summarizing, academically, what your teen has done successfully (or not) in their homeschool journey thus far. It is like a second eyeball on how well your child is doing overall in his or her courses. You can quickly figure out an overall GPA at the end of each of their high school years- or wait until senior year.
We 7Sisters, at the end of each year, we calculate the GPA for that year. For example, at the end of freshman year, we will figure out that year’s GPA. Then we will update it each year. Therefore, at the end of sophomore year, it will be the GPA for freshmen and sophomore year, and so on.
One pro about handling the GPA in this way is that your teen gets to see how much progress they have made. This is especially nice if your teen (or mom) has a little bit of a rugged start to their freshman year. Seeing their GPA go up year after year gives many teens a sense of accomplishment.
On the other hand, you may simply wait for senior year. That is okay in many circumstances.
Decide How Often You Want To Calculate The GPA
You need to decide – and stick to – how often you calculate your homeschool high schooler’s GPA by choosing one of the examples above.
BTW- Sometimes once your teens have applied to college, different colleges may want a mid-senior year GPA update.
Decide To Have A Weighted Or Not Weighted GPA
The next thing you need to decide is whether or not to have a weighted GPA. Some courses in some schools are weighted, so if you have a teen taking an AP course one of those schools instead of getting an 4.0 for an A grade, they might get a 4.5. This means they get more weight on a higher-powered course.
However, you do not have to have weighted GPAs in the courses in order to have your teens standout on college applications. That is because colleges use special algorithms when evaluating submission applications of the students. Colleges will not compare apples to oranges – or unweighted courses of students against weighted courses of other students. Instead, colleges have a way using their algorithm to unweight the weighted courses in order to make fair comparisons.
If you do not want to have weighted GPAs, that’s perfectly okay. (We 7Sisters and our umbrella school did not weight grades- and we have helped hundreds of teens get into the colleges of their choice). So, for our homeschool high schoolers, an A was a 4. 0.
Also, if you want your teens to receive an academic scholarship, deciding to weight or not weight courses will not affect their chances. It did not hurt our teens nor any of the ones that we have advised over the years.
Ultimately, it is completely up to you whether you decide to have weighted GPAs or not.
Remember: There’s no standardized anything in transcripts or education. You just do the clearest and best job that you can, and trust God through the process.
Calculating the GPA: Decide What The Lowest Passing Grade Will Be
One of the things you will need to do in calculating the GPA is to decide what is the lowest passing grade that a course can have for transcript.
For our 7Sisters’ high schoolers, our lowest was underneath a C. (Sometimes, if our teens got this grade, we had our teens retake the course until they had mastery… because in homeschooling we are more after mastery than we are GPA.)
In many traditional schools, a D is the lowest passing grade. Unfortunately, for teens aiming to go to a competitive college, a D on the transcript is not going to work very well for them. Even if they passed the course, it will not give them any kind of benefit in a competitive situation. Instead, it will work against them.
NOTE: On transcripts, you should include is a key that’s on the transcript, a legend like on a map, that shows how grades are assigned.
7Sisters Homeschool has an editable PDF transcript that you can download and use yourself and fill in the legend yourself.
Calculating the GPAs: Determine What Percentage Will Be Assigned To Each Letter Grade
Now that we have discussed the theories and understanding of GPAs, let’s talk about actually figuring them out. For your courses, determine what percentages are going to be assigned to each letter, such as A, B, and C.
For instance, we know that a 100 on a test would mean an A, and that is easy to figure out. But you will also want to know what the lowest A would be, because every school has a different determination on what the low end and high end of each grade letter is.
In our case, with 7Sisters students:
- The lowest A would be a 92 or a 93
- The lowest B might be an 82 or an 83
- The lowest. C might be a 72 or 73
It’s a very simple way to calculate the grades and the GPA if you just have A’s and B’s and C’s.
However, many traditional schools get very complex by having A’s and A minuses and B’s pluses and B’s and B minuses and C pluses and C’s and C minuses. You can do this too, if you want to, because there’s not one right way.
For instance, you might say that:
- the lowest A might be a 93 but
- an A minus might be a 90 and
- the B+ might be an 87, a
- regular B might be an 83
- and the lowest B be an 80,
- and so on down through the letters.
Caution: Don’t do this randomly or change the way you do it halfway through the semester. Once you decide the way you’ll calculate the grades and GPA, be sure to stick with it to make things easier on yourself. Put that in your course description up front or in your syllabus so that you have something to back up in your records.
This way, when you have to fill out the guidance counselor part of the college application, you will know what your teen will be using for colleges, and you will be able to really quickly explain how you assign grades in your homeschool. (BTW- you can find tips for the Common Application, including the guidance counselor portion, in this post from our friend at BJ’s Homeschool.)
MORE Calculating the GPAs: Assign the Overall Percentage and Grade Points Of A Class
At the end of a semester and again at the end of the year, you will assign course grades. This might be an accumulation of tests, papers and course work (but we also included attitude as well- similar to class-participation grade).
Once you have the overall grade, you will take that average and assign it a grade point. For instance:
- A = 4 (92 to 100)
- B = 3 (82 or 92)
- C = 2 (73 to 82)
If you are doing the complex one, you can break that down further this way, for instance:
- A minus might be a 3.6
- B plus might be a 3 4
- B might be 3.2
- B minus might be a 3.0.
You can get as complex as you want as long as you keep how you are grading stated within your course descriptions or your syllabus so that you have a record for it. This grading system will also be included in the legend on your transcript.
Assign Grade Points To Courses
Once you have decided the grade points, decide which courses are going to get those grade points.
You do not have to give a grade point to every single course you could. In our case, we just gave a grade point to the core courses because that showed the guts of their academics and the things that they would mostly be facing in their first couple of years in college, the general education courses.
Core courses usually include:
- English/Language Arts
- Social Studies
- World Languages
These are courses that would receive a grade point because they are the core courses. The remainder of the courses are considered to be electives. We did not include these in the GAP. However, some families choose to give everything a grade point, including all the electives. Do what is best for your family.
Get the Grade Point Average
Each core course, for us, gets an assigned grade point, and to keep up with this, you can create a spreadsheet. Add those grade points up, just old-fashioned math, and then divide it by the number of courses in order to get the grade point average.
For instance, if you had five courses such as language arts, math, social studies, science, and world language, you would add up all of the five grade points. Once you add those up, divide by five, and that would give you the average GPA, or grade point average. This grade point average is what goes on the transcript.
As mentioned, some of the transcript services automatically calculate the GPA based on the courses added. If you use a transcript service like this, you don’t have to do the math yourself. And if you want to add more courses in there, like electives, especially if those are really powerful for your teen and you really want to show those off, you can throw those in the GPA too.
GPA on Homeschool Transcript
As you can see, there is no right way to do this!
Once you have all this together, what happens is then you have a nice GPA that goes on the transcript in the way that’s best for you and your teens. And when they go to apply for college, they have something that is understandable to the colleges they’re applying to.
This accumulation of grades and averages inspires your teen also because they see how hard they have worked and a literal progression of that hard work. It ends up being a huge motivator!
If you want to access a GPA calculator, you can do that here.
More Resources for transcripts and GPAs
- 7Sisters has a transcript how-to guide with editable transcript.
- Our friend, Enid Franklin provides online transcript and portfolio platform with GPA help.
- Fast Transcripts has been around for years and has a built-in GPA calculator.
Join Vicki for a discussion of GPA and transcripts! You can do this!
Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post!
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