GPA Changes at Prep


Sam Shillcutt, Jay Journal Staff

In the midst of the chaotic year that is 2020, students have been suffering both socially and academically as a result of online classes. However, these hard times have resulted in some academic advantages for students’ grades as well. 

For Creighton Prep, one of these boons to students’ grades came this year in the form of a change to the GPA scoring system. In the past, the maximum GPA score for all students was locked at 4.0. However, this year, Creighton Prep introduced a new system. 

For students taking Advanced, Honors, or Advanced Placement courses, the maximum GPA score would be raised, which in turn would raise their grades. Students taking Advanced courses get an additional 0.25 GPA points of leeway, resulting in a maximum score of a 4.25 GPA. Students taking Honors courses get an additional 0.5 GPA points, with a maximum score of a 4.5 GPA. Additionally,  students taking Advanced Placement courses would get an additional entire GPA point added to their grades, with a maximum score of a 5.0 GPA. 

These changes only benefit the students, giving them more leeway to get worse grades without dropping their GPAs significantly, which in turn raised many students’ grades significantly. But why were these changes implemented? Was it a response to COVID-19? 

“This is really something that has been talked about for a long time,” said Academic Principal, Mr. Joe Ryberg.

Talks of implementing this change have been floating around the administration for years.. Two major factors convinced Prep to finally make the jump to the new system this year; advice from college admissions counselors, and the newly hired college counselor, Mrs. Christianne Clark, advocating for this change heavily. 

Prep classes are generally more difficult than public school’s classes; Ryberg himself has stated that Prep has “more challenging courses.” However, this can result in Prep students getting lower grades in their more difficult classes compared to public school students in their classes, which, in turn, means a lower GPA. This lower GPA can sometimes look worse to certain colleges who are seeking students with high GPAs, even if the students are taking harder classes. In order to fix this problem, college admissions counselors suggested the new GPA change, to increase students’ chances of being admitted into the college they prefer. 

“We want to make sure our kids have the best standing with them,” Ryberg said.

However, the main reason for the implementation of the new system this year is the vocal advocacy for it by the new counselor, Mrs. Clark. Clark convinced many of the administration who were in charge of making the decision and were on the fence on whether or not to implement the new system before to vote for the new system. However, it should be noted that this was not a solo effort by Clark, but a group effort made by the whole faculty and administration of Creighton Prep.

Another factor that influenced Prep to change to the new GPA system was other schools, both in Nebraska and around the country, having similar systems. Omaha Central High school has a similar system where students get a one point jump their GPA if they take an honors or AP course. Many Jesuit schools around the country, similar to Creighton Prep, have already instituted systems like this as well. 

This change to the GPA system has already resulted in a large impact to the grades of the student body. 

“Prior to this change, no student had a grade above 4.0. Now 27% of our students have a cumulative GPA above 4.0,” Ryberg said. “A quarter or more of the school has seen their GPA rise above 4.0.” 

Students whose grades were in the 75 percentile or lower are seeing their grades rise, and are getting better chances of going to college. Since no students’ GPAs can lower as a result of this change, this new system is a win for all students, and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.