What is it about?

We studied whether weighted or unweighted GPAs were better predictors of college performance. Weighted GPAs are grade point averages that provide students a bonus for enrolling in difficult classes in high school. Unweighted GPAs do not provide this benefit. The results were that unweighted GPAs almost always were better predictors than weighted GPAs. As a result, we suggest that high schools and colleges calculate unweighted GPAs when making decisions (e.g., honor roll, scholarships, college admissions).

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Why is it important?

Methods of weighting high school GPAs--and whether to even permit weighting--vary widely across the United States. Some people think that weighting is more fair and encourages students to enroll in more difficult courses. However, our research shows that weighted GPAs provide less information to colleges about a student's chances for academic success.


This is the first article that got me interested in studying the Advanced Placement (AP) program, which allows students to receive college credit while still in high school. Many schools weight AP classes in calculating GPAs, and I was surprised to find that weighting actually makes the GPA less informative.

Dr Russell T. Warne
Independent Scholar

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Comparing Weighted and Unweighted Grade Point Averages in Predicting College Success of Diverse and Low-Income College Students, NASSP Bulletin, December 2014, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0192636514565171.
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