Guide to GPA Calculators
A GPA calculator is used to determine a students grade point average over a specified time. Grad point averages are used to determine a student's academic performance compared to other students in the same class or institution.
GPA calculators can come in several different forms, as there are various methods for calculating grade point average. Most schools calculate grade point average on a 4.0 scale, where a 4.0 is the highest grade point average that can be achieved. However, many other forms of grade point averages are used, including a 5.0 scale, a letter grade (A, B, C, D and F), or a total points grade point average (where all classes are added into a totaled score).
A students grade point average is weighted by the number of credit hours each class. High schools will often weight classes equally, as each class is generally given the same amount of time. Higher education classes generally break down classes by the total amount of class time per week. These classes can range anywhere between 1 hour classes to 6 hours classes per week. The more credit hours a class has, the more weighted it will be towards the student's grade point average.
High schools may use higher weighted classes for students taking advanced classes that are harder than standard classes. These classes allow a student to have a higher grade value for the grade they receive. For example, an A in a standard class may be value as a 4.0, where in an advanced placement class it can be wroth 5.25.
1. First enter the total amount of credits previously earned. This will allow the GPA calculator to determine your exact GPA including the newly entered grades. You can also use this feature to determine what your GPA will be if you get certain grades in future classes.
2. Next, enter the number of credits you are taking in the current grading period. The number of credits you enter will be used by the GPA calculator to determine what your grade point average is across those classes.
3. You will next need to enter a grade for each class. You may use a letter scale, in which you provide an A, B, C, D, or F grade for each class. You may also enter grades in between these letter grades. These would include examples of A+ or A- grades. Such grades will be used on a scale to determine your grade point average. You may also enter each classes grade on a numerical scale. Numerical scales can be in the standard GPA format (0.0 – 4.0) or can use an alternate scaling method.
4. Once you enter all of your grade information, you must submit your results on the GPA calculator, which will give you your grade period average as well as your cumulative GPA. Once completed, your final GPA will be determined by the GPA calculator.
1. In order for the GPA calculator to work, you must know and understand how your school calculates their grade point average and what the scaling method is. Contact you school's academic advising office if you are unsure of the exact method for determining grades. It will be helpful to look at previous grades to determine what scale the school uses. Of course, you cannot do this if this is your first marking period, so contact the school for more information.
2. The GPA calculator can be used to determine future grades. By entering different grades, you can see exactly how high or how low your GPA may drop if you receive certain grades in future classes or semesters. This can be a valuable tool for setting goals of what grades you must obtain in order to reach certain grade point average levels.
3. In order to manually calculate your current GPA on a 4.0 scale, take your total credit hour points and divide by the number of GPA hours you have taken over that same grading period. In order to determine quality points, you can use the chart below. For each grade received, enter the quality points multiplied by the GPA hours for each class. Add all of these together and divide by the number of classes taken, which will leave you with your grade point average.
Final Grade Quality Points Credit Hours
A 4.00 x Number of Hours
A- 3.67 x Number of Hours
B+ 3.33 x Number of Hours
B 3.00 x Number of Hours
B- 2.67 x Number of Hours
C+ 2.33 x Number of Hours
C 2.00 x Number of Hours
C- 1.67 x Number of Hours
D 1.00 x Number of Hours
F 0.00 x Number of Hours
4. Sometimes a student may receive an incomplete or withdrawn grade for a class. You must check with your school's policy for grading, but these grades will typically not affect your grade point average. While not included on your grade point average, they will usually be included on your final transcript or noted under your GPA in some form. The same may go for audited classes, usually given a grade of “X”, which indicates a student went to the class but was not graded.
5. Many times, schools will give awards or special designations for achieving certain grade point average levels. Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude, and Magna Cum Laude are special honor designations given by most schools to indicate if a student achieved a certain grade point average. Check with your school to determine at what grade these designations are given. They are often different from school to school. Some schools may give these designations to those students in certain GPA percentiles or base it on a specific grade point average number.
Curves and Rank Based Grading
Grading on a curve and rank based grading is a system of academic grading used to understand the performance of a student within a defined group. Curves can either be set outside of a ranking system or directly use a ranking system.
A rank based grading curve assigns grades according to a pre-determined percentage of how many students can get certain grades. Below is an example of pure rank-based curving which uses a classic bell curve style. Note that most students in the class will receive the average grade of a C while few students will receive an A or an F.
Grade Awarded percentage of students
who will receive this grade
A top 5%
B next 26%
C middle 38%
D next 26%
F bottom 5%
A popular model of curve and rank based grading allows the grader to use a normal distribution of grades to track education performance. The top grade, usually an A, is given for academic performance that beats the mean score by a specified amount, usually +1.5 standard deviation. Under this grading scheme, a B would be awarded for an academic performance of between +.5 and +1.5, while an average score would receive a C.
GPA calculators can be used in a variety of ways to determine grades using countless methods, so always check with your school to see if they are using a curve or rank based grading before using any grade point average calculator.
While by definition most students in a curved grading system will receive an average grade, the grading can be harsh as it requires the failure of a certain amount of students, no matter whether they have adequately mastered the class or not.
Curved grading is popular with some schools who wish to eliminate inflated grades, in which students are passed through classes regardless of how well they learn or understand the material. The curved grading system also has proven to push students to perform at higher levels, often for fear of failure by becoming behind. Competition can often become increased in these classes, as students must outperform their peers in order to achieve good grades.
Grade Scales Using Percentages
Some schools still use an outdated formed of calculating grades based on a 100% scale. In this scale, students need to achieve a certain percentage in order to achieve their grades. The percentage is typically calculated from the percentage of answers correct on tests and quizzes throughout the grading period.
Most schools on a 100% scale will usually assign a letter grade according to what percentage the student falls in.
An A is typically between 90% and 100%.
A B is typically between 80% and 90%.
A C is typically between a 70% – 80%
A D is typically between a 65% – 70%
A failing grade is typically any grade below the 65% mark.
While these percentages put the grade in a numerical form, in order to use it with a GPA calculator, a grade point average in the traditional 4.0 scale must be converted from the 100% scale. To do this, you must take the letter grade given for each class and multiply it by the weighted score for each grade. For example, an A is typically given a GPA value of 4.0. Multiply this by the credit hours for the class. Add this number and divide by the total number of credit hours taken over the grading period.
If you are unsure what grading method your school is going to use in order to put into the gpa calculator, you should immediately speak with your teacher or the school's academic department, who will help guide you through the process. Many school's websites now offer help and information regarding the details of their grading structures. Knowing a school's grading structure can go a long way in helping you achieve good grades in school.
GPA calculators use the following formulas to determine how to calculate a grade point average on either the 4.0 scale or the 5.0 scale.
How To Calculate GPA On A 4.0 GPA Scale
A = 4 points
A- = 3.75 points
B+ = 3.25 points
B = 3 points
B- = 2.75 points
C+ = 2.5 points
C = 2 points
D = 1 point
WF/F = 0 points
P/NP are not included in a student’s GPA.
I(Incomplete) and W(Withdrawals) do not have an impact on GPA.
How To Calculate GPA On A 5.0 GPA Scale
A = 5 points
B = 4 points
C = 3 points
D = 2 point
F = 1 points
P/NP are not included in a student’s GPA.