After receiving the transcript that would confirm her final honor ranking, senior Nicole Ghitea was relieved to know that she would be graduating as summa cum laude, along with a little more than 150 of her classmates.
“I was happy that I could stop trying,” Ghitea said, jesting about the ranking process. “I was relieved that it’s finally over, but I knew I was going to get [summa].”
The students who have been attending Johnson for all four years of their high school career will soon be graduating as the class of 2012, and since their first day, have been given the gift of the GPA multiplier. Ghitea, along with most of the graduating summas, have taken advantage of it since.
“I’ve had [over 100] GPA since the beginning of freshman year, so I was like the top ten percent each year. I kind of went down a bit, but I’ve always been over 100 average,” Ghitea said.
The difference between the number of summas from last year’s graduating class to this years has jumped dramatically from 96 to 150. According to counselor, Shar Huffman, the reason lies in the transition of the GPA and ranking policy in 2008.
“When we changed our GPA and rank policy a few years ago, it allowed more students to attain a GPA of 100 or higher. Before it capped at 100 and that was the highest you could get. So now that we have weight added to the advanced courses, a lot more students have the ability to earn above a 100, and we have a lot of students taking advanced courses,” Huffman said.
As the school first opened, the new policy was set in place automatically, creating a snowball effect for the honor rankings. Other NEISD schools followed the transition shortly afterward.
“We’ve seen the increase across the district,” Huffman said.
For the current freshman class, however, the policy will soon be replaced due to the inclusion of End of Course (EOC) exams, causing the GPA spike to decrease.
“We’re getting ready to shift again though with the current ninth grade class that’s going to have the different system,” Huffman said. “Because the Texas legislature passed the House bill requiring End of Course Exams to count as part of the grade, so for our current ninth graders, it’s going to be different.”
As the school year comes to an end, it leaves a remarkable reputation for the school, but all good things must come to an end. Ghitea predicts that the future graduating classes, with the new policy, are in for a reality check.
“They’re probably going to be shocked that they’re not as smart as they think they were,” Ghitea said.