Say NO to Two GPAs in Plano ISD

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Plano ISD (PISD) is proposing the addition of a Ranking GPA (R GPA) on top of the existing Cumulative GPA (C GPA). Two GPAs are confusing, misleading, and hard to manage. They will make students' lives more stressful and will lead to narrower course selection. To truly solve the problems PISD wants to tackle, they should fix the existing C GPA, but not make the problems worse. 

PISD presented the new GPA policy recommendations at the Board's April 24 meeting. The Board will vote on it on June 12. The proposed new policy will affect current 7th or lower grade students. You can find the details of the policy at https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=42326997. A simplified version is at https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=42327004

PISD's proposed policy introduces a new GPA, Ranking GPA (R GPA), in addition to the existing Cumulative GPA (C GPA). The existing C GPA will remain the only GPA on a student's transcript. However, R GPA will determine if a student is in the top 10% of her class, and if so, her rank. R GPA is based on only core courses in English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. The exact list of ranking courses is not available and subject to further study by PISD.

The proposed dual GPA system (C GPA & R GPA) is supposed to incentivize students to choose more lower-weight, non-core electives and reduce competitive pressure. However, it will not work as intended because it complicates the course selection decision by adding another objective, R GPA.

Under the current single Cumulative GPA (C GPA) system, the decision would be like this:

  • If a student chooses a lower-weight course, it will lower her C GPA.
  • If she chooses a higher-weight course, it will improve her C GPA.

Under the proposed dual GPA system, the decision would look like this:

  • If she chooses a lower-weight non-core course, it will not affect her R GPA, but will lower her C GPA. 
  • If she chooses a higher-weight non-core course, it will not affect her R GPA, but will improve her C GPA.
  • If she chooses a lower-weight core course, it will lower her R GPA and C GPA.
  • If she chooses a higher-weight core course, it will improve her R GPA and C GPA.

It’s patently clear which GPA system leads to more complicated decisions on course selection.

The complexity of the dual GPA system is made worse by the fact that only C GPA will appear on a student’s transcript, and R GPA is only used to determine if she is in the top 10%. There will be cases where a student’s rank is higher than another student but her C GPA is lower. The effect on college admission decisions from such potential inconsistencies on a student’s application is hard to estimate beforehand, which will inflict further anxiety upon the student.

Because of the complexity and extra uncertainty the dual GPA system brings, here is how students (and parents) are going to respond.

  • Those who have figured out the dual GPA system’s implications on college admission will work toward improving both R GPA and C GPA in order to be safe, which means more pressure, more anxiety, and less sleep.
  • Those who are not sure about the implications will focus on improving their C GPA, because that’s the only GPA shown on the transcript and it’s what students are used to doing. In other words, R GPA is useless.
  • Those who are led to believe that the dual GPA system frees them up to choose more lower-weight non-core courses will fall behind the first two groups when it comes to college admission, because others will have either a better C GPA or a higher rank, and sometimes both. They will regret their decision when they eventually realize this.

The dual GPA system leads to no positive results for anyone.

Even worse, it punishes the group of students who aspire to be in the top 10% by either making their life more stressful or misleading them to believe R GPA will improve their college admission prospects while in reality it will NOT. It is counterproductive and morally wrong. 

On top of that, in implementing it, PISD would have wasted taxpayer money (funds needed to develop the app and configure two GPAs) that could have been used elsewhere on something of actual value.

To PISD and the Board, we say No Two GPAs! We refuse an ineffective, inferior, and deceptive policy shoved down our throat! We deserve and demand better!

Please sign this petition to urge the Board to reject two GPAs. Please write to the Board to voice your concerns. The Board may be reached at  missy.bender@pisd.edu,david.stolle@pisd.edu, nancy.humphrey@pisd.edu, jeri.chambers@pisd.edu, angela.powell@pisd.edu, tammy.richards@pisd.edu, yoram.solomon@pisd.edu. 

Thank you very much for your support!



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