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Thursday, March 14, 2013

GPA Questions Answered

by Kelli Turpin

picture by Mando vzl
This blog post is in response to an anonymous comment on the blog a few days ago regarding GPA.  I’ve edited the questions a bit and answered them a little more fully than the commenter probably thought I would. 
Let’s start at the beginning.  GPA stands for Grade Point Average.   Your GPA tells anyone looking at your transcript how good your grades are.  (You’ll notice I didn’t say “how good a student/person/employee you are.  Your grades are a direct reflection of how well you absorb and remember specific information, not necessarily how much you know and definitely not how smart you are.) 
How to Calculate GPA
Each grade is worth points (Grade Point Average).  You know this:
Each course is associated with a certain number of units, usually three.  To get your grade points for each class, multiply the number of units times the value of the grade:
A Spanish 101 (5 units) with an earned grade of A would be worth 20 grade points (5 units x 4 points)
To get your GPA, divide grade points by units: (20/5 = 4.0)
You’re right, that was too easy.  How about this:
Grade (Points)
Grade Points
Span 101
A (4)
Engl 101
B (3)
Math 096
B (3)

(Grade Points/Units)
44/13 = 3.38 GPA

picture by Sbcaphil

Looking for a way to calculate GPA that doesn’t require doing math?  Check out the GPA calculator on the Transfer Center’s website.  Click on GPA Calculator on the right hand side of the page.  It’s a MS Excel file, so you need Excel to open it.
Now, on to the questions!
Question 1:  Is the general education certification GPA computed along with the major requirements GPA to arrive at a cumulative GPA for the Associates?
Answer:  All grades are used to calculate cumulative GPA.  Cumulative means “everything up to now.” 
Types of GPA you might run across:
                Cumulative GPA is everything, including courses from other colleges and courses that don’t count toward a degree or transfer.
                College (or District) GPA only includes those course you’ve completed within our District.  This is the GPA you see on E-Grades.
                Associate-degree applicable GPA includes all courses except remedial courses.  Remedial courses are those courses in English and Math which serve to get you ready for the level you need to graduate (essentially, the pre-requisites to English 101/105 and Math 096).
                Transfer GPA includes all courses which transfer, either to the CSU system or the UC system.  If a course is numbered 100 or higher, it generally transfers to the CSU, but may or may not transfer to the UC.  (Why the difference?  Essentially, the UC system is slightly pickier than the CSU system.)
                Education plans for certificates (or GE Certifications) use only the courses required for that certificate in calculating GPA.  To earn a Certificate (of Achievement or Performance), your GPA in the major courses must be above a 2.0.  The college doesn’t care what your cumulative GPA is in that case.  However, if you want to graduate “with distinction,” we look at your cumulative associate-degree-applicable GPA.
                All the GPA on GE certifications does is tell you how well you did in the GE courses on the list.  It doesn’t calculate anything in your major or anything other than those few courses. 
There are a few things that are never calculated in GPA:
                The first or second grades of courses that you repeated.
                Courses that you have requested Academic Renewal Without Course Repetition for.
                Courses that have “W” or “P” or “NP” or “I” as the grade.
Question 2)  […] would those credits remain on my transcripts or be removed once the certification is completed and my Associate's Degree awarded?
picture by David Maiolo
Answer: Your transcript is forever.  Courses you completed right after you graduated from high school 40 years ago are still valid.  No grade is ever pulled from your record except by Academic Renewal (either by repeating a course or by petition).  In addition, even if the grade is no longer calculated, it still shows up.  Your transcript is a legal document where nothing is ever deleted, only annotated.

Question 3) Also, are the District Requirements for Graduation computed at all in my GPA or just checked off as having been completed?
Answer: All courses are calculated toward your GPA.
Other questions?

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