Commissioner addresses a GPA dispute….

The end of the school year often brings spirited disputes over GPA calculation.  After all, it matters. There is more than personal pride at stake. So let’s take a look at how Commissioner Morath dealt with a dispute in Brownsville ISD.

The fight was over two classes that the student took at St. Joseph’s Academy while in middle school.  When the student transferred to a BISD high school, the student was given credit for these two classes based on the determination that they were high school level classes. That sounds good, right? In most cases it would be, but this student was racking up a high GPA by taking Advanced Placement classes that carried higher weights. BISD gave the student credit for the middle school classes, but only ordinary credit. They were not given the additional weight that A.P. classes had. 

The parent complained of this, but the Commissioner found no fault with how the district handled it. The decision tells us that “school districts can count middle school classes in high school grade point average calculations.” Exactly how they are counted is not for T.E.A. to decide.  Key Quote:

Decisions about how grade point averages are calculated are issues left to school districts. 

The regulations do require that public schools have to verify the validity of a grade obtained in a private school, but leave the method of verification up to the public school:

The district may use a variety of methods to verify the content of courses for which a transfer student has earned credit. 19 T.A.C. 74.26(a)(2). 

Make note of the word “methods.”  It turned out to be important. 

BISD officials contacted St. Joseph’s “who then gave us the course number they utilized. So based on that we looked at our service ID number from the T.E.A. in order for us to input it and identify what course it applied to.” 

The Commissioner said this was good enough:

Respondent contacted the prior school and compared course numbers. Whether this is a good method, a bad method, or an indifferent method, it is a method.

And “a method” is all that is required. The case is Parent v. Brownsville ISD, decided by the Commissioner on April 21, 2022. It’s Docket No. 006-R10-10-2021.


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Tomorrow: a common sense decision on “stay put.”