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Pre-AP classes would be weighted under uniform GPA plan, official says

Public outcry led to a few big changes in the latest plan for a statewide uniform grade-point average system, which was presented Wednesday to Texas' Higher Education Coordinating Board.

■ Pre-Advanced Placement and pre-International Baccalaureate classes will now remain weighted, although the weighting will only be .5 instead of a whole point, as many districts weight them now.

■ Grades in fine arts classes would now continue to factor into the average, although they would count for less credit.

■ Some career and technology classes would continue to be weighted a whole point if they are dual-enrollment courses in which students also earn college credit.

■ Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual-enrollment courses would all be weighted 1.0 on the 4.0 scale.

Critics had complained about an earlier proposal in which pre-AP and pre-IB classes would not be weighted. They said students would skip the tougher classes to boost their averages.

Raymund Paredes, the state's education commissioner, said the aim is the opposite: to ensure that students are taking a rigorous course load and not getting extra points for classes that aren't that hard.

He said that many college freshmen are not prepared.

"A single rigorous standard must be developed for all students," he told the board's Participation and Success Committee.

A vote on the measure, which could have come Thursday, was pushed back to the board's Jan. 29 meeting. Action would be all but required then, with the looming May 2009 deadline for implementation set by the attorney general.

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