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Troubleshooting GPA issues in SchoolLogic

Overview 

If a parent, student or colleague comes to you and says, "This GPA is not right,"  it always boils down to one of two things:

1. The human and computer are not performing the same mathematical calculation.

2. The human and computer are not using the same numbers. 

This document walks you through several areas to check, in order to make sure SchoolLogic is using the correct mathematical calculation and the correct numbers. Click Here  for a one-hour webinar on GPAs.

GPA Definitions

Straight GPA - the sum of the adjusted grades divided by the number of grades.

Credit Earned GPA - the sum of the Credits Earned times the adjusted Final Grade, divided by the sum of the Credits Possible.

Credit Weighted GPA - the sum of the Credits Possible times the adjusted grade, divided by the sum of the Credits Possible.

Course Weighted GPA - the sum of the adjusted grades times the Course Weight, divided by the sum of the Course Weights.

Course Bonus GPA - the sum of the adjusted grades times the Course Weights, divided by the number of  grades.

Honor Correction - Averages the weight of the average for regular classes with the weight of the average for Advanced Placement                                 classes.

Quality Points - The same as credit weighting, with the addition of course weight, using assigned quality points. 

Checking Your Grade Legend

The first step in troubleshooting your GPAs is to make sure your grade legend is set up correctly and to understand how each field is used in calculating GPAs.  Each school may have one or more grade legends. Please check all grade legends that you have set up.

Go here: Grades > Grade Legend.  Highlight each grade legend and check the following:

GPA Troubleshooting 1.jpg

GPA (1-3) – these four fields are used in calculations when you elect to calculate a GPA , rather than an average.  When teachers assign a numeric or alpha grade for a report period or final grade, the corresponding GPA is moved into the Grade Points field in student history.  The value in the GPA field is the value used in calculations for GPAs. Make sure that the correct value is entered in each field.

Inc. in Ave – this field determines whether the values in this row are considered for calculation in GPAs.  In the above screen shot, the INC grade will not be included in GPA.

Checkpoint:

  • GPA fields are filled in correctly for each grade legend.
  • Percent equivalent fields are filled in correctly for each grade legend.
  • Inc. In Ave yes/no is correct for all appropriate grade legend details. 

Checking your Course List

1. Courses can be marked as Exclude from GPA on the courses form (on the Information 2 tab, as shown below). 

2. The same form also includes Avg. Weights, which applies if  you do course or course bonus weighting.

3. At right in the screen shot is the Course Type. All courses you intend to include in a GPA Calculation must be part of a Course Type -- with that type being chosen to be included, on a different form, later in the process. 

Go here: Scheduling > Courses

GPA Troubleshooting SL 2.jpg

Checkpoint:

  • If you exclude certain courses from GPAs, you can enter Yes  for Exclude from Average.  Note: You do not have to designate courses as exclude from average if you ensure they are not  part of a Course Type which is included in GPA.
  • If you use course or course bonus weighting, check the average weight field. Ensure it has the correct weighting.

Checking your Cumulative GPA Setup

The Student Average setup form is the most important form to check when troubleshooting your GPAs.  If there is an error on this form, even a small one, GPAs will not be correct.

Go here: Grades > Student Average.  Highlight each GPA you have set up and check each individually.

GPA Troubleshooting SL 3.jpg

Calculation Type - Make sure you've made the correct choice.

Value -- Which of those numbers from the Grade Legend are you choosing to do the math on?

Rank Indicator   This field determines how your students will be grouped; what group of students will they be ranked against?  All students with matching values in the selected field will be considered together and ranked against each other. This determines the "out of" value when you say a student is "ranked 17 out of 125."  If you have an "out of" number you consider incorrect, create a user defined group matching the same conditions as your choice here. Review all students in that group to ensure they should be in that group.  This may help you find missing or extra students.  Most schools use Grad Year or Grade. 

Whichever you choose here, make sure the students HAVE that data. Obviously, most kids have a Grade Level, so that’s not usually an issue, but Grad Year is not ALWAYS filled in.  So, if you are going to use Grad Year, make sure the students have the correct one. Global Update can be used to fill this in. Note 1: If you use Grad Year, make sure you delete the student’s Grad Year if they withdraw from your school. A withdrawn student should not be part of your class rank; he shouldn’t mess up your OUT OF…you don’t want him sneaking back into your “out of” number. Note 2: If you pick Grad Year, always pick the spring semester's year number. So, if the school year is 2016-2017, the GRAD YEAR for that range is 2017, since that is the spring semester.

If you leave Rank Indicator blank, students are ranked against the entire school. 

Rank Averages Above this Value as 1. Which really means: Rank them as NUMBER 1. Most schools work on a 4.0 GPA Scale. You have to fill SOMETHING in here and the most common choice we see is either 4.0 or 5.0. You are saying to the computer: "Here’s my very top number. IF a kid hits this number…or ABOVE... automatically rank them as No. 1 in their group." Note: You can have more than one No. 1! 

Quartile Rank - We've never heard from a client who uses this.

Cumulative Options

Include Current Grades - You can say yes to this, but as of January, 2015 and version 4.2.5, SchoolLogic will not currently use the Current Year Grades. So there is no point to saying yes here, IF you are working on CUMULATIVE GPA. The Schools we are aware of work around this by running a Semester End Update when they need the Current Year grades to be included in the Cumulative GPA -- for instance, on the Academic Transcript, which is the most common place this matters. For example: It’s January, and the final grades are in from your First Semester classes. Your seniors want to get updated Transcripts out to the colleges. So, this screen makes it look like you should be able to engage Include Current Grades, actually do the calculation and the GPA printed on your transcripts would reflect those January final grades. It won’t, currently, but our Development Team has this on their list of things to fix. So, what schools do is: They run a Semester End Update, which moves those January grades to History, and then they run the calculation and the system WILL include the January grades – because they are now in History. That means the next few items on this screen…does a class have to be Completed and what Report Period does that class have to be in…are moot points when you are figuring CUMULATIVE GPA.  But the fact those choices are on the screen bodes well for the future -- remember: Our Developers know that Current Year Grades are not getting figured into Cumulative GPAs and it IS on their list of things to fix.

The Options Form

GPA Troubleshooting SL 41.jpg

  • At far right is Grade Levels, meaning Grade Levels to Include. Ensure each grade in which students may have taken GPA courses is selected. This is usually grades 9 – 12.  Consider any ungraded or extra grades you have in your grade level lookup table. This field refers to grade levels of the students.
  • In the middle is Course Types to Exclude. The only Course Types that should be checked are those you do not want included in the GPA Calculation.
  • At left is Course Types to Include. The only Course Types that should be checked are those you do want included in the GPA Calculation. Many clients find errors when Troubleshooting this and checking this form is not enough. Once you make sure you have the correct Course Type(s) checked here, verify the checked Course Type(s) are truly made up of the Courses you think they are. Go here: Scheduling > Course Types. In the Group Manager at right, click the Course Type you wish to inspect, then verify the display in the middle shows the correct courses, as shown in the next screen shot.

GPA Troubleshooting SL 5.jpg

  • At the bottom of the Student Average-GPA Options form is Default Max Credits. Most clients do not use the max credits field in GPA calculation, but here is how it works:  If you put a check in the Default Max Credits checkbox, the Max Credits field will be enabled. When using Max Credits, the program will only count enough courses for each course type to make up the total number of Max Credits.  If a school had five course types in their Course Types to Include, and had five as the max credits, only 25 credits' worth of courses would be included for GPA calculations; five from each course type.

Checkpoint:

  • On the Student Average - GPA form, are you correctly selecting Calculation Type?  

  • Check the field you are selecting for Rank Indicator to ensure this is the correct field to identify the population to be ranked.

  • On the Options form, ensure all grade levels which include courses to be included in GPA are selected; usually grades 9 - 12.

  • On the Options form, have you checked each Course Type in both the Include and Exclude columns?  Check each Course Type very carefully.

Recalculate History (Ranks and Averages)

This form starts the process for calculating GPAs for all students. It should be run after every term end update, after manually editing multiple student course grades and after manually adding student history. There is nothing bad in running it more often.

This form has processes for updating yearly, term & cumulative GPAs. Here, we'll only be reviewing cumulative GPAs.

Go to Grades > Recalculate History (Ranks and Averages).

GPA Troubleshooting SL 6.jpg

End Year

The End Year field is used to identify up to which year your cumulative GPA should be calculated.  Every year has its own cumulative GPA.  For example, consider a student was in the school for four years, 2009 – 2013:  The GPA for 2013 includes all years up to and including 2013.  The GPA for 2012 includes all years up to and including 2012.  While schools do not often need prior years’ cumulative GPAs, SchoolLogic does continue to store them.

Note: The year of the GPA is based on the year of the start of the school year, not the end.  This means that for the 2012-2013 school year, the history year, and therefore the GPA year, is 2012.

Averages

Select the one, or multiple, cumulative GPA(s) you would like to recalculate.

Rank students based on averages

The Rank Students option allows you to create a rank, based on this cumulative GPA.  Put a check in this checkbox if you would like to recalculate the rank for the students. A Cumulative GPA is calculated regardless of this box.

Only Include Students from Matching Rank Field -  Enter the same field you specified in the Student Average form.

Click Submit  to start the calculations.

Note: If the process goes extremely fast, around 1 or 2 seconds, odds are it did not do anything, which may mean you have entered a year where there are no history records.

Checkpoint:

  •  Enter the correct year.  Remember:  Enter the year of the start of the school year, not the end year.
  •  If you want the recalculation to include grades from the current school year, make sure you have done a Semester End Update  to move the finished semester into history.
  •  If you are ranking students, place a check in the rank checkbox.  If you do not check this, the cumulative GPA will be recalculated, but the rank will not.
  • Select the cumulative GPA(s) you want to recalculate.  You may have several listed. Ensure you are selecting the correct one(s).

Student History

To verify individual students' GPAs were calculated correctly, many schools print an Academic Transcript or the GPA Validation Report, which we will discuss later. Another verification method is to study the student history form. And, if there are problems with the cumulative GPAs, this form provides a lot of information as to what might be wrong.

Go to Student > Student History.  

GPA Troubleshoting 63.jpg

Open the student in question, scroll to the bottom of his/her Student History and click on the Year  you wish to study. Currently, the form will return to the top of the student and you will have to scroll to the bottom a second time, but this time around, you will see the student's GPA numbers.

GPA Troubleshooting SL 7.jpg

Verify that the Cumulative GPA you selected to recalculate has been recently updated. 

If the number of decimal places is not correct, go to Setup > Preferences and click Grades.  Enter the correct number of decimal places in the Cumulative GPA field.

If the GPA is not what you expect, it is easiest at this point to run the GPA Validation report, which is explained below. But before you read up on that, here is a look at the pieces of information in Grade History which are most important in the GPA process:

Checkpoint:

GPA Troubleshooting SL Grade Details 1.jpg

  • Check the number in the GPA field (if that is the field on which you calculated, as opposed to GPA1, 2 or 3). Verify these are the numbers you're expecting to find.
  • Is the Course marked Exclude from Average?
  • Verify that each history entry is linked to a course.  If the history entry is linked to a course, the course name will appear.  I.e. Chemistry Sem-1 in the above shot.  If the course name does not  appear, this entry is not linked to a course in your course list.  Which means that this entry is not linked to a course type and is, therefore, not included in calculation. 
  • Courses are linked during the semester end update, so most of your entries will be linked if they were entered into history during a semester end update.  There may be a couple of reasons for enrties not being linked to a course:  These entries may have been manually entered and not linked to a course at that time, or they were entered during a conversion.
  •  If any history entries are not linked, you can manually link them clicking on the Course  button and then choosing from the resulting picklist. If you have many entries not linked, please contact the SchoolLogic help desk.
  • If you use a GPA Calculation Method which includes Credits, make sure the Credits Possible & Credits Earned are correct. 
  • If you change any fields on a student in the history form, make all necessary changes to the student's entries in all his/her classes; then click Recalculate Averages at the bottom of Column 2 on the Grade Detail 1 form. Re-check the results.

GPA Validation

There is a GPA validation report, which is a great report for two purposes. First, it is a great report to troubleshoot GPAs. It lists all history/current year courses included in a GPA calculation (based on included course types) and it details the math on how the GPA was achieved.  Secondly, it is a great report to give students or parents who are questioning GPAs.

Go to Grades  > Grades Report  > GPA/Average Validation .

Options Form

Be sure to enter the same Year you entered when you ran the Calculation. Do not check Include Current Marks (which, unlike the GPA Calculation and the GPA you will see on the Academic Transcript) works on this report. 

Most users run this report one student at a time, because they are checking an individual student.

Review the course list.

GPA Troubeshooting GPA Validation Reprt..jpg

Checkpoint:

  •  When running the report, ensure you have the same settings selected regarding Include Current Grades that you had selected     when you ran the recalculate history.
  • Check each course listed.  If a course you are expecting to see is not listed here, check your course types. You may have                 missed the course.
  • If the course is not listed and you have the course listed in the course type, check the student history record to verify the record         you see in history is linked to a course.
  • Check the Grade Excluded column.  If any courses have a Yes in the Grade Excluded column, they are marked as Exclude from    Average in the student history form. Ensure this is accurate.
  • Verify the information you see in the screen shot below.

      If you are comparing this GPA to one in a manual calculation or one in an Excel file, verify the specific parts of the calculation – numerator, denominator, result.  Also: Review the courses included to see if one course is on one report and not the other.

GPA Trouble Shooting Shot 8 Bottom of Validation Report.jpg

 

If you have reviewed all areas, and still not resolved the issues, please contact the SchoolLogic help desk.

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