Schools use the grade point average, or GPA, of students to represent the grades the student's earned in various classes. They also use a quality point average, or QPA, system, which multiplies the student's GPA by a specific multiplier. Colleges determine the multiplier by the number of credit hours that a class is worth.

## GPA Definition

Schools determine a student's GPA by his final grade in a class. Students earning an A in a class receive a GPA value for the class of a four. Schools award a three for a B in a class, two for a C, one for a D and a zero for a failing grade. Schools keep these values in their system as a record of students achievement in various classes throughout their educational career. Each completed class has a GPA value awarded, based on the student's grades; however, to find a total GPA, schools must use a weighted system, such as the QPA system.

## QPA Definition

Schools use the QPA system to weigh student grades against the classes that the student takes. The school multiplies the GPA value by a factor that is based on the number of credit hours that a class is worth, as well as any additional multipliers, such as an extra .1 for honors classes. For instance, a student who earned a B in a four hour regular class, earns a QPA of (3.0 x 4) 12 and a GPA in the class worth 3.0.

## QPA and Honors

One advantage of the QPA system is that a student who takes honors classes can see her honors work reflected in her grades. The additional multiplier goes into the QPA equation, providing a grade advantage to honors students that reflects the additional work they put into the class. As an example, a student who earned a B in a four hour honors class earns a QPA of (3.0 x 4.0 x 1.1) 13.2. The QPA system also allows schools to determine a student's overall GPA quickly, by adding all of the QPA values for every class the student took and dividing it by the total number of hours that the student completed.

## QPA and Retakes

In situations where students fail to perform as well in a class as they would like, or as their degree requires, they have the option to retake the class. In these cases, a student earns a new grade to replace his old grade. When taking retakes, a student's total hours completed does not increase because the grade is a replacement for an already existing grade. The QPA system allows students to decide whether to take retakes by giving them a clear perception of the impact of the class grade on their overall grade. For instance, if a student earned a 2.0 in a three hour class (2.0 x 3 = 6) and increased the grade to a 4.0 (4.0 x 3 = 12), the student could see the overall six point increase to their total QPA.

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