GPA values get slight boost in District 191

Will help in chase for scholarships, admissions

The chances of Burnsville High School students winning scholarships and college admissions got a slightly better June 5.

The District 191 School Board approved a change in grade values that will give more weight to the “minus” grades: A-, B-, C- and D-.

Each grade will gain one-tenth of a point for the purpose of calculating students’ grade-point averages. An A-, previously valued at 3.6, is now valued at 3.7. A B- is now 2.7, a C- 1.7 and a D- 0.7.

The changes are small, but BHS Principal Dave Helke said they can make all the difference for students in pursuit of highly competitive college admissions and scholarships.

Sometimes, “one one-thousandth of a point, one one-hundredth of a point, can really make the difference between making a cut, not making a cut, or being in a certain percentile,” Helke said.

A BHS parent’s story about his or her child’s experience in such a situation prompted school officials to consider the change, Helke said.

Officials found that 15 of 16 high schools in similar-size districts used higher values for minus grades than Burnsville, with nine of the 16 using the 3.7 to 0.7 values.

Where Burnsville rounded down, most of the other schools round up, Helke said.

“A student’s GPA is often used in deciding college admissions, scholarship awards, and other academic distinctions,” Helke and District 191 Assistant Superintendent Cynthia Amoroso wrote in a report to the board. “It is imperative for Burnsville High School students to not be at a disadvantage in these areas because the values used to calculate their GPA are lower than those of other high schools.”

The change won’t benefit this year’s graduates, but Helke said other students’ current GPAs will be recalculated.

“So is this retroactive back to 1985?” quipped Board Chair Jim Schmid, who graduated from BHS that year.

John Gessner can be reached at (952) 846-2031 or email john.gessner@ecm-inc.com.

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