Academic rigor in comparison to other schools


Riley Laurence, Staff Reporter

This school is extremely rigorous when it comes to academics. My class has a whopping total of exactly 300 people, which is significantly less than the class size at my old school (McKinney). Because of the relatively small class size here and the fact that  the school only allows Pre-AP and AP courses, when I transferred to this school, my class rank and GPA dropped instantly a full 23 percent.

Coming from McKinney with a diverse population of students, being in a few Pre-AP classes and some AP classes, my class rank was in the top seven percent of my class with my GPA at 4.3. This was all due to the grading scale implemented in McKinney ISD, my former school district, in which core (non-Pre-AP) classes could achieve a maximum of a 3.0, Pre-AP Classes could receive up to a 4.0, and AP classes could earn up to a 5.0, depending on how well you did in the class. Since I was enrolled in all Pre-AP and AP courses, my GPA was already at an advantage, but surged due to the dense concentration of students who had opted out of AP history to take a non-Pre-AP history course. This meant that even if I earned an 86 in the AP class, it was equivalent to earning a 106 in the core class that corresponded.

This system of grading set me apart from most of my classmates at McKinney, but as soon as I moved to here, instead of being in the top seven percent, I dropped to the 30th percentile because the grading scale is so much closer together. In Lovejoy ISD, core, or non-Pre-AP, classes can achieve a maximum of a 4.0, Pre-AP Classes can receive up to a 4.5, and AP classes can earn up to a 5.0, making the gap between those who don’t take AP classes and those who can super narrow. Using this grading scale, scoring an 86 in an AP class is equivalent to earning a 96 in the core class, which is an easily achievable grade for most people in these classes. This way, AP students are placed on the same playing field as non-AP students, which is not fair in any way to students who are in college-level classes. In my opinion, if  you are not taking AP classes, you should not be able to obtain the same GPA as someone who is because the work load and class rigor is often entirely different.

To make matters even worse, kids (with the exception of those with special needs) enrolled in the high school I attend are not even allowed to take a core class; they are only allowed to take Pre-AP. Using the same hypothetical situation as before, earning a 86 in an AP class is equivalent to earning a 91 in Pre-AP. It just doesn’t seem fair to me that a kid who is making a high B in a college-level course should be given the same GPA as a kid making a low A in Pre-AP because the rigor of the classes are in no way the same.

I am in no way bashing the Pre-AP programs in high schools. All I am saying is that if a student takes a class that is dramatically harder than the corresponding Pre-AP class, it should not even be possible for them to receive a lower GPA than a student who is barely making an A in a Pre-AP class.