Honors Grade Bump Issue

What is the Retroactive Honors Grade Bump Issue about in a Nutshell?

Every year, the School without Walls (Walls) accepts numerous transfer students from other DCPS schools and other public and private schools.  Many of these students come from schools that offer “Honors” classes.  Walls does not currently offer “Honors” classes because, as a test-in rigorous school, the entire curriculum is essentially an “Honors” curriculum.  Non-Walls students who transfer into Walls bring with them their GPAs from their prior schools, which did offer “Honors” classes, and that those GPAs transfer to Walls with a .5 grade bump on each “Honors” class.  This significantly inflates transfer students’ GPAs above those of Walls students with the same grade mix who did not have an option to take “Honors” classes.  Then, those GPAs are used in calculating class rank, ​causing​ transfer students with the same grade mix as original Walls students to​ be ranked higher merely because they took “Honors” classes at their prior schools, which was not an option for original Walls students.

This fall, in response to parents’ and Walls administration raising this issue, DCPS agreed that the system was unfair and to designate Walls’s core classes as “Honors” classes.  However, it decided that the new “Honors” designations would only apply prospectively, that is to classes taken this year and forward.  Current Walls’ sophomores, juniors and seniors who took these same classes in prior years would not get any grade bump for those classes.   While the class descriptions have changed in minor respects, in general the material covered and the quality and quantity of the work expected has not been altered in those classes now labeled “Honors” classes.

The LSAT and many parents and students are seeking reconsideration of this decision on the basis that official DCPS GPAs and class ranks must be fair and reflect competition among students that have had equal opportunities.  For current Walls sophomores, juniors and seniors, will not benefit from the designation of core classes as “Honors,” the system remains unfair and inequitable.  Notably, when the Baltimore School District faced a GPA/class rank computation issue, it rectified the situation retroactively for current students.  http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/

For more information:

Contact details for DC Education Officials.