Our team frequently gets questions from homeschool families regarding grade point averages. One of the most common is, “What’s the difference between a 4.00 and 4.33 grade point average, and which one should I use on my student’s transcript?”
In today’s blog post, we’ll demystify the process of picking between these two scales!
First, here’s a basic rundown of what a grade scaling looks like. At their core, grading scales are simply a ratio of a letter grade to a corresponding numeric value—and that numeric value differs depending on which scale you choose to use. We’ll explain more about that below.
The biggest takeaway is this: Each letter grade your student earns should be mapped to a number before you attempt to calculate the overall GPA. So, what about the 4.00 vs. 4.33 grading scale?
What’s the difference between a 4.00 and 4.33 grading scale?
Different schools opt to use different grading scales, but the most common is the 4.00 scale. This means letter grade A translates into a 4.00 numeric grade, and so on:
A => 4.00
B => 3.00
C => 2.00
D => 1.00
F => 0.00
Another common scale is 4.33, which is useful for mapping letter grades with pluses and minuses (A+, A-, B+, etc.):
A+ … 4.33
A ….. 4.00
A – … 3.67
B+ … 3.33
B ….. 3.00
B – … 2.67
…and so on.
If you choose to use pluses and minuses in the grading scale for your home school, this would be the ideal scale to choose.
In the end, your student’s GPA will need to reflect their college of choice’s grading scale, so if the college uses a 4.33 scale, you’ll want to calculate his or her transcript on that same scale. If your student’s college of choice doesn’t use plus/minus grades, the 4.00 scale will work for you.
What about grading on a weighted scale?
The grading scale has nothing to do with GPA weighting. You can use a weighted GPA with either a 4.00 or a 4.33 grading scale. Just because your transcript uses a 4.33 grading scale doesn’t necessarily mean a weighted GPA is needed.
Instead, a weighted GPA is calculated on your transcript via courses marked as Honors, Dual Enrollment (DE), or Advanced Placement (AP). These courses receive extra “weight” on your transcript. Although this can result in a GPA that’s high than 4.0, most colleges accept (and even prefer) weighted GPAs.
How is a weighted GPA calculated?
When you calculate your student’s weighted GPA, AP and DE courses should receive an extra two grade points. Honors courses receive one extra grade point. So when the grade points are calculated for a single course, you would have to add two to that course if it’s marked as AP, for example. That would result in a higher, weighted GPA.
Weighted GPA using a 4.00 scale is a common approach for homeschool families as they build their students’ transcripts.
The bottom line
The grading scale you choose to use for your student’s transcript depends on your student’s needs and the requirements of his or her college of choice. Some colleges grade on a 4.33 scale; if your student plans to apply to one of those college, his or her GPA should be calculated on the same scale.