School finally adopts new GPA system for Class of 2020

March 11, 2017 — by Francesca Chu and Michelle Lee

After some complications and delays, the school has finally adopted the new GPA system starting this spring semester for the Class of 2020.

This new system will use a 4-point GPA scale, which gets rid of pluses and minuses, but the original 13-point scale will still be shown on students’ transcripts so that colleges can see how they performed in each class.

According to principal Paul Robinson, about 60 percent of all students’ plus or minus grades each semester are minuses, meaning the change will help most students’ school GPAs.

“Our teachers and admin team looked at what other schools were doing and realized we were not lining up with everyone else,” he said, “and it could be creating a disadvantage for a majority of our students.”

According to Wikipedia, the new system is the most-used grading system in the U.S., and most high schools in the area use it as well, including Monta Vista, Homestead, Palo Alto and Los Gatos.

Though the administration had planned to implement the new GPA system last fall, they ran into some technical problems with Aeries system in the beginning of the school year and were consequently unable to implement the new grading scale in the first semester.

“We had every intention that this was going to be a simple change, and it wasn’t until we actually had grades in the system that we discovered that we needed a special program fix from Aeries to have freshman grades on a different calculation than grades 10-12,” Robinson said.

In order to have the class of 2020 use a different formula for GPA, the school had to pay a one time programming fee of approximately $12,000.

The administration had been working with Aeries to find a solution and were on track to have the new system implemented by the first semester, but before the fix was able to run, Robinson went out on medical leave and said he “dropped the ball for getting it resolved for the fall semester.”

Although the freshman class did not have the new system in place last semester, Aeries will recalculate their grades from last year as soon as the new program starts running. However, some freshmen have been skeptical about the GPA change.

“At first I thought it was a really good idea and it would relieve stress,” freshman Nicole Wong said, “but if you’re one of the people with borderline grades, it affects your grade more than it should, which is annoying.”

One concern that has been raised is that the new system would lead to multiple people have the same GPA upon graduation and multiple valedictorians.

But Robinson said, that over the course of four years of grades, there is usually some separation between students for one reason or another.”

In addition, there have been worries that students cannot get as high of a GPA as before with the new system. However, it would affect only those who only get plus grades, and according to Robinson, the school is unlikely to ever go back to the old system.

“Almost no one calculates it that way anymore. We want to be consistent with other schools, and the rewards are too great,” Robinson said.

The school hopes that with the new system, stress over grades will be reduced.

“It should keep more students from asking their teachers what they can do to change their grade after the fact,” he said.


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