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Ask Mr. Answer Person: "How does the National Honor Society calculate grade point average?"

Posted: Mon, Mar 25, 2013 9:11 AM

Harold e-mails Mr. Answer Person: "I see the Decorah High School recently inducted 50 new members into the Honor Society! That's great and congratulations to the kids and the faculty. When reading the article I see that one of the criteria is to maintain a 3.5 grade point average.   Do they take into consideration at all the level of difficulty in the classes the students are enrolled in to maintain that grade point average? For example, is general math GPA worth the same as advanced algebra GPA?  It would seem logical to weight the classes on difficulty as well."

Mr. Answer Person checked with Decorah High School principal Kim Sheppard, who provides this answer: "The guidelines for entrance into National Honor Society are determined at the national level and are to be followed by each local NHS Chapter.  Students qualify to apply for membership when they are juniors or seniors and have a GPA of 3.5.  (Local chapters are able to set the qualifying GPA.)  Qualifying students who are interested in applying for membership are to each write a paper documenting accomplishments that demonstrate leadership, service and character and submit a letter of reference from an individual outside of school.   This information is reviewed by the Faculty Council (an anonymous group of teachers) and students are invited to join NHS based upon their review of the materials the student submitted.

At the current time, we do not have weighted grades.   Weighted grades have been discussed in the past, however, it was recommended that we not move to a weighted system, as transcripts reflect the coursework students have completed and teachers also have the ability to set the grading scale for the classes they teach.  The Faculty Council that reviews the applications for membership into NHS is a representative group of the high school teachers and has a good idea of the coursework completed by the students applying for membership.  Qualifying GPA's for membership into NHS are not dependent upon weighted grades, but the student's GPA."

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