SOUTHINGTON – High school leaders hope to change the way grades are calculated to better mirror how colleges view a Southington student transcript.
Educators said colleges often recalculate Southington grade point averages leading to lower grades than local students received from Southington High School. This can cause students to believe they qualify for a school or scholarship only to be disappointed when the college recalculates their GPA.
Jennifer Discenza, school counseling director, said the town’s current grading system gives students a “false sense” of where they rank relative to students from other schools.
“Our current GPA system is really negatively impacting our students when they go through the college application process,” she told Board of Education members Thursday night.
She and other counseling staff members proposed moving from the current 100-based system to a 4.0 GPA.
Last year’s top student, for example, had a GPA of 115.3. Under the proposed system, that student’s GPA would be 4.71. Not only is the grade expressed differently but classes are weighted more closely to how colleges weigh them.
Counselors said it’s a common request from parents to have a 4.0-based GPA since that’s how many colleges want grades presented. They want the change to help families understand what merit scholarships or other aid a student may qualify for.
“It will give our students and families a much more accurate picture,” said Ana Napolitano, a guidance counselor.
Counselors suggested starting the new GPA system in the 2022-23 school year.
The board hasn’t taken any action on the change yet.
David Derynoski, a board member, said the district would need to communicate the new grade weighting system to families well in advance.
“I think it’s going to be a culture shock for a lot of parents and students,” he said.
Steve Madancy, school superintendent, said it’s not the first change to give students a better chance during college admissions. He said class rank was removed from transcripts several years ago and that the number of students gaining admission to competitive schools has since risen.
Being a large school, Southington High students who performed well might be hurt by a low class rank compared to other college applicants from smaller schools. Without rank, college admissions offices looked at other aspects, such as extracurricular activities.
“We want colleges to look at our students holistically and not as a number,” Madancy said.