Fearless Transcript Preparation
- Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Evaluation of Credit
Next you’ll want to indicate the credit each course earned. You may be using courses that have all been evaluated for credit by the publisher of the curriculum. That makes your work easier. But some of you may choose to develop your own course or use an integrated curriculum not preevaluated for credit, in which case you may want to log the hours your teen spent completing the assigned work. An acceptable scale to use is 120–180 hours for one year of credit. The upper end is for lab sciences that you’re developing. The midrange of 150 hours is appropriate for English and history courses, and the 120-hour range is for electives.
If your teen takes college courses as dual enrollment during high school, you will want to include this work on the transcript. In most locales, a three-credit, one-semester college course equates to a one-year, one-credit high school course. We suggest you place an asterisk next to these courses, noting at the bottom of the transcript the college name.
Final grades will also appear on the high school transcript. Are you saying, “We haven’t been giving grades”? You’ll be relieved to know that many homeschool families do not award grades to their children in the younger years. However, we suggest you consider doing so during high school since letter grades are necessary to calculate a grade point average (GPA). “Oh, well, I won’t worry about a grade point average, so I don’t need to grade,” you’re saying. In most post-high school settings, people are accustomed to seeing grades on a transcript. The grade point average may also be necessary for scholarship applications—possible money. Did that perk up your ears?
Even though grades are subjective, take time to evaluate your teen’s knowledge and understanding of his course work and give a grade. A side benefit may be that the grades will motivate your student to work harder and more carefully since she is reaching toward a goal—a good grade.
Grade Point Average
After filling in the credits and grades for the courses, it’s time to add up the total credits earned for each year and calculate the yearly grade point average. We want to quickly encourage you that if you can add, subtract, multiply, and divide, you can calculate the GPA. There are four basic steps.
First, convert the letter grades to grade points (A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1). The second step is to multiply the grade point by the number of credits earned, which gives the quality points. For example, A = 4 x 1 = 4 (quality points) for a one-credit course; B = 3 x .5 = 1.5 (quality points) for a half-credit course. Do this for all subjects taken during the year. The final step adds all the quality points and divides them by the total credits (subtracting out any pass/fail credits) earned that year. The result will be the yearly GPA. Easier than you thought!
If you are creating a transcript by year, a cumulative GPA will typically be included along with the yearly GPA. Since your teen likely did not complete the same number of credits each year of high school, you should not add up all the yearly GPAs and divide by four. This gives you the average of averages rather than an overall average. We’re hearing you ask, “So how is a cumulative GPA calculated?”
The ninth grade is easy because the yearly and cumulative GPA are the same. To figure the cumulative GPA at the end of the tenth-grade year, add the quality points from both the ninth and tenth grades, add the credits from both years, and divide the total quality points by the total credits, resulting in the tenth-grade cumulative GPA. The eleventh-grade cumulative GPA is found by adding all the quality points from the ninth, tenth, and eleventh grades; adding all the credits from these three years; and doing the division to end up with the eleventh-grade cumulative GPA. The twelfth grade follows the same steps: adding the quality points from all four years along with the total credits for four years, dividing, and voilá—your teen’s cumulative GPA for high school!
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