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High School considers changing weight of honors, advanced-placement grades

Cape Elizabeth High School is considering reducing the impact that honors and advance-placement grades will have on overall grade-point averages, beginning with the class of 2023.

Principal Jeff Shedd announced the proposal to the School Board when he presented the draft Program of Studies for 2019-2020 at their meeting Jan. 8, 2019.

Currently, and for as long as anyone can remember, a grade in an honors class counts 1.3 times as much as a non-honors grade. "So it means that if you ... get an 80 in a class and it's an honors class then there's a weighting which would bring that 80 up to 104," Shedd said. An advanced-placement grade is weighted at 1.35.

The weighted grades, however, may be driving students to take classes that are not a good fit. "After a number of discussions about this we've decided that (weighting is) more than is necessary, and we are suggesting bringing this down to 1.05 and 1.1," Shedd said. The change, pending School Board approval, would begin with next year's freshman class.

To the same end, the Program of Studies reflects a more proscriptive approach to course placement recommendations for English, science and social studies classes. "The reason for that is ... while we want kids to be able to challenge themselves ... some times, kids are challenging themselves in a way that is not best for them." Often it's more for grade weighting than for educational benefit, he said. "So we want to get a little better handle on that, and we believe the effect of it will actually be to increase the rigor of all levels of the classes we offer, and the level of achievement and the fit for students," Shedd said.

The Program of Studies is subject to School Board approval and will likely be considered at their meeting Feb. 12.

Apart from a new sociology elective, no new courses are being offered, Shedd said, but some have been renamed with new titles.