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Record Keeping, Grading, Grades & Transcripts – a Simple How To

Your child’s future and your financial future depend on how well you keep your homeschool records and transcripts. See Outstanding Homeschool Student Loses Out on Scholarship.  

Here is a simple “How to Grade your Student’s School Work”

Calculating Letter Grades/Grading a course
How to record grades for a homeschool transcript.

Record keeping for homeschool students does not have to be overwhelming.  If you are using a standard curriculum that includes tests and evaluations, simply calculate a grade based on your student’s performance on those tests.  Then, keep a notebook where you can record each test grade for each course.  At the end of the year, you simply add up all test grades and divide by the total number of tests to determine the final grade for the course.

For example, Jennifer takes 6 tests throughout the school year scoring 95, 86, 93, 88, 92, and 95.  When added together, these scores equal a total of 549.  Divide 549 by the number of tests (in this case, 6) to calculate the average score-91.5%.  This becomes Jennifer’s final grade for the course.

Calculating Weighted Grades
Adding Extras to a Homeschool Transcript.

Some homeschoolers choose to add projects or written assignments to the courses they offer and want to ensure that their student’s transcript reflects those efforts.  No problem.  Simply assign a grade to each project or assignment that you believe should impact the final outcome of the course.  Then, determine if you want those grades to carry the same weight as the test portions of the course.  If so, simply add all final grades together and divide by the total number of grades.

For example, if Jennifer’s homeschool supervisor assigned a major research paper and an oral presentation for the course above, she may want to incorporate those projects into Jennifer’s final grade.

Therefore, if she earned an A (or 95%) on her research paper and an A- (or 92%) on her oral presentation, she will add those grades in with her test scores for a total of 736.  When you divide this number by the total number of grades (this time a total of 8 grades), Jennifer’s new overall course grade is now 92%

Homeschool Grading – More Complicated Method

Determining a final grade can become more complicated if you prefer to allow tests to carry more weight than projects or vice versa.  If that is the case, let’s walk through that process.

First, determine the average of each set of grades using the formula above.  For example, Jennifer has an average of 92.5% on her tests and 93.5% on her projects.  Because of the work involved in her larger projects, Jennifer’s homeschool supervisor would like to weigh the projects more heavily than the tests.  She therefore decides that the projects will make up 65% of Jennifer’s overall grade and the tests will make up the other 35%.

To calculate the final grade, she must first take the average earned on each portion of the course and multiply that average by the weight assigned to it.

In Jennifer’s case, she will multiply the test average of 92.5% by 35% for a total number of 32.37 points.  She will then take the average score for the projects (93.5%) and multiply it by 65% for a total number of 60.77 points.  When added together, Jennifer’s total percent score becomes 93.15%.

As you can see, the weight you assign to the various assignments within a course does impact the final grade.

Jennifer’s Grades-For non-weighted transcript (fig 1)

1

2

3

4

5

6

Totals

Divide by total # of grades

Percent Average

Test Grades

95

86

93

88

92

95

549

6

91.5%

Project Grades

95

92

187

2

93.5%

Total Points

736

8

92%

Final grade for course: 92% (B)

Jennifer’s Grades-For weighted transcript (fig 2)

1

2

3

4

5

6

Totals

Divide by total # of grades

Percent Average

Multiply grade by weight

Total points

Test Grades

95

86

93

88

92

95

549

6

91.5%

x 35

32.37

Project Grades

95

92

187

2

93.5%

x 65

+ 60.77

Total Points

Add total points-convert to percent

93.14%

Final Grade for course: 93.14% (A)

Keeping it Real – Homeschool Wisdom

I do caution you to be realistic with your grades. A student who earns 100% on all assignments and tests will raise concern among college admissions counselors.  Be careful to provide accurate records and award grades based on performance, not on a desire to skew the actual results.

In addition, to avoid the temptation to weigh one aspect of a course more heavily than others with the goal of raising a grade, determine how you will grade your homeschooler and the weights for each type of evaluation at the beginning of the year.  Then be sure to inform your child, write it down, and stick to it.

If you prefer to use a letter grade system, simply define the range for each letter grade.

For example, an A+ might have a percent range of 97-100; A  95-97 and A- 93-96. Once defined, be sure to include that grading scale on your homeschooling documentation.  This makes it easier for college admissions officers to see the performance of a student.  In addition, a letter grade system makes it possible to determine the GPA for your student.

How to calculate your child’s GPA

Rather than provide a complicated method of determining a child’s GPA based on a grading scale that includes pluses and minuses, I will outline for you the easiest method of grading.

A GPA is calculated based on the number of quality points your child earns throughout his or her high school career.  Quality points are awarded according to academic achievement, number of credits and your grading scale.  The most basic method of assigning quality points is on an A, B, C, D grading scale, A=4 points, B=3 points, C=2 points, D=1 point:

Letter Grade Awarded

# of Quality Points

A

4

B

3

C

2

D

1

So, if a student receives the following grades on his or her transcript in a given year, the GPA for that year is calculated based on the grading scale above and will look like this:

(Quality Grading Table Fig 3)

Course

Letter Grade Awarded

Credits earned

# of Quality Points

Math

B

1.0

3

English

A

1.0

4

Social Studies

A

1.0

4

Science

B

1.0

3

Bible

B

.50

3

Totals

4.5

17 Points

Divide total points by number of credits

17 / 4.5

3.77 GPA

In some cases, courses are weighted more heavily based on the academic level.  For instance, Bridgeway students are able to register for honors, AP, and college level courses that are weighted more heavily than others and therefore receive more quality points.  If you are enrolled in a homeschool program, ask them about weighted courses.

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