WA addresses changing GPA system


Anushka Patil

Westford Academy

Sophia Keang, Staff Writer

In an attempt to lessen student stress, the administration has been discussing changing the weighted GPA system to unweighted GPAs at Westford Academy. 

A weighted grade point average system takes the difficulty of a class into account along with grades. An unweighted GPA system is when the difficulty of the class is not being accounted for. 

The current weighted GPA system at Westford Academy.In the past, the Challenge Success committee has proposed removing valedictorian and salutatorian from future WA classes. According to guidance counselor Wendy Pechacek, Westford Academy has also stopped including the histogram on transcripts being sent to colleges, a bar graph that showed the distribution of students by GPA which was also the replacement of rankings.

Many students have discussed their GPAs with guidance counselors according to Mrs. Pechacek because it is not as high as they want it to be or they take a certain class just to boost their GPA. Due to the amount of students coming to talk with their guidance counselors about their GPA and the stress and pressure it has on students, WA is has been considering about changing the way the GPA system works. There hasn’t been a recent meeting about the GPA system and Westford Academy has yet to take action on this discussion.

As Westford Academy continues to reduce student stress towards their GPAs, Mrs. Pechacek, a guidance counselor at WA, about the idea of WA changing the current weighted GPA system to an unweighted GPA system.

“The want for change in the GPA system has always been talked about since I came to Westford. So it isn’t anything new. WA encourages students to take courses that they would enjoy, rather than just taking classes they would feel would maximize their GPA. Other people also think that their GPA is a major source of stress and competition for students. We feel that if the GPAs were unweighted, it would alleviate some student stress so they would feel more obligated to take courses that they prefer rather than a ‘high-level class’,” said Pechacek.

The Ghostwriter posted an anonymous survey that would help to get students’ input on the topic. The survey was open to all grades and consisted of several questions on their input of this situation.

The results also included students’ preference of weighted or unweighted GPAs and how that specific system would benefit them. There were a variety of answers where students think that an unweighted GPA would benefit them because they are mainly taking CP classes. However, many of the students expressed a preference toward weighted GPAs because the level of effort and work involved in that class should be compensated by the grade received in that class.

According to the survey, students believe that there will still be some sort of stress that goes along with the grading system. Students also feel that the GPA will “lose value” due to the amount of time and effort spent in AP or Honors level courses. 

The survey also showed that 35of the69 students who responded to the question “Do you think the current GPA system creates stress or pressure for you?” feel that the current system does not create stress or pressure for them. However, the rest of the students believe that there will always be some sort of stress and pressure when it comes to grades. 

“[GPAs] are and will always create stress and pressure. We as students need to learn how to deal with stress, because when we grow up we will have to deal with stress and it will hurt us so much more in the real world than right now” said an anonymous student.

Though the intentions to change the GPA system are hoping to lessen student stress, many students feel as stress would not be reduced, but added