A reader sent me this “Tale of two transcripts” note with supporting charts to make the point that some Gwinnett students are going to lose out on full HOPE because of how the district calculates grades. I could not replicate her charts here, so please click on the link to see them. (Somehow, the Google doc has two sets of the same charts.)
Take a look at the note and the comparative charts and let’s discuss.
I will openly admit to confusion on this issue no matter how often I ask about it. These charts are the best presentation I have seen to frame the question. And for me, the question is: Are some students at a disadvantage for HOPE because of how grades are configured in their systems?
I am always assured that the state strips away the local calculation and applies its own formula. This information suggests otherwise. Can someone clarify?
Here is the reader’s note to me:
Here are two identical transcripts, one from Gwinnett and one from DeKalb. The DeKalb student will qualify for the full Zell Miller Scholarship, the Gwinnett student will not.
In fact, the Gwinnett student will never qualify for the full Zell Miller/HOPE, even if he or she achieves a 4.0 in astrophysics at Georgia Tech, unless the new rules change.
The grading inequity is due to the fact that when the number grades are sent to the Georgia Student Finance Commission for conversion for HOPE/ Zell Miller Scholarship purposes, the grades are converted according to the grading scale in place in each individual county.
Some counties award a “C” worth 2 points for the number grades 71-79, but some counties, like Gwinnett, award a “D” worth 1 point for 71-73; the “C” is used for 74-79. The GSFC told me that a remedy would have to come from the county, there is nothing they can do about it. Ditto AP policy.
There was some public discussion about the unfairness of grade reporting to the Georgia Student Finance Commission in 2006/2007. As a result of this public discussion, the reporting mechanism was done differently; nothing changed. Gwinnett kids and students from certain other counties are still at a disadvantage. With the new 2011 HOPE/Zell Miller program, it will cost families even more.
One bad case of “senioritis” locks the Gwinnett student out of the Zell Miller Scholarship forever. Also look at the third set of grades. This student won’t qualify for the full Zell Miller because of the AP penalty currently in place.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog