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How to Grade for High School

When it comes to creating or maintaining a high school transcript many homeschool parents feel a little overwhelmed with the idea of assigning grades.

Of course it's relatively easy to grade subjective subjects like math and science where where the answers are either right or wrong. You can use a simple grading scale where the percentage of right answers translates to a letter grade.

For example:

  • 90-100% = A
  • 80-89% = B
  • 70-79% = C
  • 60-69% = D
  • 0-59% = F

But what about those subjects such as English composition or history where the answers are more along the line of "it depends"? How do you assign grades for those types of courses?

One method would be use a rubric where you line out what the expectations are and assign a certain portion a certain percentage of the final grade. That might work very well for some situations.

However, a simpler way to assign grades is to think of them on a scale of 1 to 3.

  1. Excellent work showing mastery of the subject. 
  2. Not top work, but above average showing comprehension of the subject.
  3. Average work showing a basic understanding of the subject.

With that scale, a 1 would be equivalent to an A, a 2 would be a B, and a 3 would be a C. You could add a 4th and 5th level to be equivalent to D and F, if you like, but typically that level of work would be re-done until at least a basic understanding was achieved before moving on.

The next step for including grades on your transcript involves calculating your student's Grade Point Average. This is where you assign each letter grade a numeric value.

  • A = 4 points
  • B = 3 points
  • C = 2 points
  • D = 1 point
  • F = 0 points

Next you'll need to determine credits. Every state has the prerogative to calculate high-school credits as it wishes, so we highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with local criteria. (HSLDA.org is an excellent starting place and has some comprehensive articles on this topic.)

That said, many people calculate credits based on hours spent learning. Typically anywhere from 120-180 hours a year counts as a single high school credit. That would be 3.33 hours to 5 hours a week in a traditional 36-week school year. So if you find you're spending an hour a day at least three days a week, then it is likely you're completing a one-credit course. If you're spending 1.5 - 2.5 hours a week, you're likely completing a half-credit course. While not every problem must be solved, the usual rule is that at least 75% of the work must be completed to count that credit. 

Figure out the Grade Point for each course by multiplying the letter grade value by the number of credits for that course. Each 1 credit course would be equivalent to the grade values listed above. However, half credit courses would only be half the value, so A would be 2 points, B would be 1.5 points, and so on.

Once you have a Grade Point for each course you will simply add those numbers together and then divide by the number of credits. The answer will be your Grade Point Average.



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