The traditional way to calculate a GPA was to give 4.0 points for an A, 3.0 points for a B, 2.0 points for a C and 1.0 point for a D. Because this didn’t allow for distinctions between grades, schools soon developed GPA’s for + and – grades. So an A- became a 3.67, a B+ a 3.3, a B- a 2.67 and so on.
This is unweighted grading and is what existed for many years. Under this system, if you receive all A’s you have a 4.0 GPA.
But with the development of the AP system, some high schools started to believe that they should reward students taking the more challenging classes. So, high schools started to give higher points for AP classes. Commonly, an A in an AP class would now be worth 5.0 points rather than the traditional 4.0. Some high schools also started to do the same thing for honors classes.
These are weighted grades. The weighting refers to the additional points, or weight, given for the AP and honors courses.
Next time I will talk about the mess that has come about because of weighted grading.