Red Hook School Board approves new class rank calculations

The Red Hook School Board has approved changes to the grade weighting system used to determine class ranking for high school seniors.

Beginning with the new school year, students will get more credit for grades in honors, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes, with the goal being to encourage students to take more challenging courses.

The old system, in place since the Class of 2004, provided a 1 percent boost for Regents courses, 2 percent for honors level courses and 3 percent for AP and all IB classes. The new weights provide 4 percent for honors, 6 percent for AP and IB Standard Level (IB SL), and 8 percent for IB Higher Level courses (IB HL). There will be no boost for Regents courses.

“The rationale for updating the policy was to bring greater alignment between those students completing advanced coursework (as well as a greater number of courses) and their overall ranking in the class,” said Superintendent Paul Finch. “Over time, we have discovered that it was possible for a student who did not complete many advanced courses to rank higher than students who took an advanced course load.”

Class ranking is based on grade point average, which is calculated by taking the grades earned in courses and applying the weights based on difficulty of the course. So a 90 in an IB HL course will earn a student a 97.2 with the new weighting, while a 90 in an honors course would earn a 91.8 toward class rank. The new weights will only be applied to courses completed after September 1, 2012 and will not be retroactive.

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