At the October 27th Snoqualmie Valley School Board Meeting, the twelve National Merit Scholars from the Mount Si High School Class of 2017 were asked to introduce themselves to the school board, share their plans for the future and what they might change at Mount Si.
This year’s National Merit Scholars are Petru Constantin, Austin Craig, Auni Edwards, Casey Harris, Andrew Kirby, Rahul Rajkumar, Donavan See, Erik Spalding, Jackson Stokes, Lindsey Sydnor, Steven Watters and Noah Whelan. (Not all attended the meeting.)
The distinction recognizes outstanding performance on the October 2015 PSAT. Of the twelve students recognized, Rajkumar was also named a National Merit Semifinalist and Edwards was named a National Hispanic Scholar, scoring in the top 2.5% [nationally] of Hispanic and Latino students who took the PSAT.
In addition to introducing themselves at last Thursday’s school board meeting, the students used their time to thank teachers and the district for helping throughout their academic careers in the Snoqualmie Valley – and then asked board members to consider helping them make a big change at Mount Si.
When addressing what they might change at MSHS, students asked the board to consider weighting GPA’s to determine students’ class rankings. In a weighted system, higher value is given to an AP course. The students said they thought this system for ranking was more fair as it would reward the effort of students choosing to challenge themselves with an AP course.
According to the Washington State OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction), about 30% of Mount Si Students (grades 9-12) took AP courses in 2014-15 (latest reported data). U.S. News and World Reports Rankings, noted for the MSHS Class of 2015, about 50% of seniors took an AP course during high school.
How would that possibly Work?
Many high schools across the country use weighted GPA’s for determining class ranking. In the weighted system, AP courses have the potential to earn a higher grade value, which is then calculated into a student’s overall GPA used for ranking. For example, a typical weighted system has an AP course ‘A’ valued at a 5.0 instead of the traditional 4.0 value A’s earn at Mount Si.
Auni Edwards said, “Weighted GPA’s are needed at MSHS because it will show a more accurate representation of the senior class. Many students are taking advanced classes, but they are getting average or slightly above average grades. I think the seniors should be able to reflect their effort in advanced classes. For example, when a classmate is taking multiple AP classes and is in multiple sports and is getting an A- or a B in an AP class and a student who is not involved in any sport or activity or AP class and is getting an A, I don’t think they should have a higher class ranking.”
Donavan See, when addressing the school board, said he is currently in line to be the Class of 2017 Valedictorian (ranked first) and if GPA’s were weighted he would probably not receive that honor, but he said he still a supported weighted GPA system for class ranking.
According to SVSD Public Information Officer Carolyn Malcolm, Mount Si Principal John Belcher confirmed there have been some discussions about switching to a weighted GPA system for class ranking determination, but no decisions have been made yet.
Nearby Issaquah and Skyline High Schools also use a weighted system for graduating class rankings.