New Proposal Could Change the Weight of Advanced Placement Classes

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

A controversial proposal is coming under attack from school districts across the state. It's a move meant to standardize the way grade point averages are calculated, but it could motivate students to do less to get more.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is suggesting eliminating extra credit, or the way the class is weighted from Pre-Advanced Placement courses.

A&M Consolidated High School Teacher Courtney Wellman has been teaching Pre-AP English for the last five years. It's a demanding class with equally demanding expectations.

"At our school they receive ten extra points for those courses," Wellman said.

But Wellman worries a new proposal to take away those ten points or the weighting of the class, could also take away student's ambition to take on more challenging course work.

"I think there's definitely a concern among students about GPA, and now with the top ten percent rule that's a concern----college entrance," Wellman said.

College appeal was definitely an incentive for Bryan High School senior David Briner to take on harder classes.

"They're really challenging," Briner said.

That challenge combined with the experience is what he's hoping will draw attention from his future alma mater.

"They like seeing you tried to get into that stage doing college level courses," Briner said.

But like many students, David wonders if by taking away a class' weighting some students won't just opt for the safer bet.

"If you're taking a class you're taking a risk," Briner said. "If you're not getting the boost advanced classes give and it counts towards your eligibility that scares off a lot of people."

Which is exactly what Courtney Wellman fears.

Although the proposal aims at bringing uniformity in high school grades across the state she wonders will it mean students doing more work at a higher level could actually end up being penalized for trying.

"I'm not really sure that levels the playing field because students in Pre-AP courses are going to be doing much more demanding work," Wellman said. "These courses are defined by their rigor."

"Not only would they not get the weight, it would really be a dis-incentive for them," CSISD Superintendent Eddie Coulson said. "Because if they took the Pre-AP class and it wasn't weighted and they got a 90 in that class, but they could have taken a standard class and got a 95 that would help their GPA.."

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is set to decide whether to approve these changes listed in the proposal on October 23rd.


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