SAT-On-A-School-Day Experiment a Success
What's a Transcript and How Do You Interpret It?
EOSHS was one of a handful of high schools that recently offered the SAT on a school day (Wednesday, October 17th) and, by most all indications, it was a huge success. There were 116 seniors who took the SAT on that day, with the back gym serving as the "test center", and both bells and announcements were suspended during the testing period. At the conclusion of the testing period, counselors solicited feedback from the student participants. When asked if they felt it was a worthwhile venture that should be continued, the group was unanimous in its agreement for the program to continue.
This experiment required the cooperation of the entire school community, from test registration and coordination to setup and eventual breakdown of the test site. The primary beneficiaries of this school-wide cooperation were the students who sat for the test and those juniors who will participate in the April testing.
A Reminder: Financial Aid Workshop
The annual financial aid workshop for parents/guardians is set for December 11 at 7 pm in the lecture hall at EOSHS. At that time, Carolyn Karno, an expert in the field, will provide help with completing the FAFSA and offer tips on how to reduce the rising costs of higher education. Put it in your calendar now.
What's a Transcript and How Do You Interpret It?
With the first quarter about to conclude, this serves as an opportune time to explain the differences between quarter grades and final (transcript) grades as well making the distinction between semester courses and year-long courses.
Let's begin with what a transcript is not - it's not a report card. Whereas a report card "reports" grades at designated points in the school year, a transcript lists final grades issued at the end of semester and year-long courses -grades that are permanent.
Below is a very brief video made to help you "see" what a final transcript looks like and how you can make sense of it. Know beforehand that the video is a collection of snapshots depicting the various parts of a real transcript, with descriptive labels attached to each slide. It's not award-winning footage, but then again it's not designed as such. Hopefully, though, it gives you a sense of what a transcript is and how to interpret it. It also provides an explanation of how quarter grades factor into final grades issued on the transcript. Stop it along the way if you need to view a part more closely. Contact your counselor if you have additional questions.
The Difference Between ACA GPA and TOT GPA
If you're wondering what ACA GPA and TOT GPA mean and if there's a difference between the two, then know there is.
ACA GPA represents the weighted grade point average a student earns on the basis of grades earned in courses at the various levels (A, B, G). This academic (ACA) GPA is the one seen on transcripts and used with the bar graphs appearing on the school profile.
TOT GPA is used strictly for honor roll designation and is based upon a traditional 4-point scale. So, an "A" is worth 4 points regardless of the course level. An A- and an A+, by the way, are both worth 4 points as well - there is no differentiation with a + or - in the grade. So, an "A" is an "A+ is an "A-".
Rationale for Eliminating Class Rank
Several years ago, EOS began moving away from reporting numerical class rank (1, 2, 3...101, 102, 103...), first switching to percentiles (99th percentile, 98th, etc., where - in a class of 300 - three students would share the same percentile), then to deciles (first ten percent, second ten percent, etc.) and eventually to no rank at all. Some have wondered why. Here's an explanation.
Let's start with numerical ranking. EOS uses a weighted grading system, as most everyone knows, with higher level courses offering "heavier" weight on grades earned in those courses. Using this method doesn't accurately depict "ranking" and the following example shows why - if Sam takes the most advanced courses in the curriculum and Sally does the same, and if Sam earns an "A+" in each course and Sally does the same, and if Sam chooses to take nothing else in the way of electives but Sally takes a B-level elective, then Sam is ranked number one and Sally is runner-up in the ranking. This is simply because she chose to take an elective. Would anyone suggest she skip the elective she wishes to take so that she can protect her ranking?
With regard to decile rank, EOS students have occasionally been eliminated from scholarship competitions because they have not been ranked in the top ten percent of their class (sometimes a criterion for scholarships). These same students could very well have been in the top ten percent at other schools. When asked what they'd do if EOS didn't report class rank, college officials have said that they'd calculate a rank themselves. So EOS decided that is the way it should, in fact, be determined - colleges could decide and EOS wouldn't do it for them.
EOS then moved further ahead on the issue and contacted fifty of the most competitive colleges in the country, asking each for feedback on the possible elimination of class rank. Not one school said it would hurt EOS students in the admissions process. Many reported it wouldn't matter because they re-calculate GPA anyway, and some said it could actually help EOS students because it would force admissions officials to delve more deeply into the application. Based upon this feedback, the decision was made to do away with class rank. EOS, by the way, is hardly alone on this. The majority of secondary schools across the country have responded similarly to this issue.
In its place, EOS reports on its school profile (this accompanies every college application that leaves EOS) a bar graph that depicts the distribution of GPAs across a class, with each bar representing a .5 range of GPAs. Doing it in this manner provides schools relative data, and it does so without giving up who is (or is not) in the top ten percent of the class.
Students are now free to choose electives for the right reasons.
Articles of Interest
Chronicle of Higher Education