Clear Creek ISD’s freshman class for this year and years to come are in for a change in how their high school careers are graded as the district is implementing a new grade ranking system.

The overview

The new grade ranking system, which will affect the class of 2027 and those that follow it, will put less emphasis on electives and, as a result, weigh core classes more heavily on students’ individual grade point averages, or GPA.

The goal is to allow students to pursue interests and passions in their extracurricular activities they might otherwise forgo due to worries on how they will affect their GPA and class ranking, said Dava West, director of counseling and student services.

“We are always looking to do what’s in the best interest of our students,” West said.

Elizabeth Blome, a parent who has a sophomore and freshman in the district, said she hopes the new system will allow her youngest students to take classes that interest them without having to worry about their class rank.

Changing how grades stack up is a growing trend in education that many districts are considering across the state and country, West said. There’s also not much concern on how it will affect the way colleges look at CCISD students since colleges have their own systems anyway.

“Colleges review thousands of applications and have to find some way to equalize that,” West said. “They have some sort of system of comparing apples to apples.”

What they’re saying

“We want our students to follow their passion and interest without limitation. [This new system] opened up those options,” West said.

“I’m hopeful that the new ranking system will allow my youngest [student] to explore different electives without worrying about the class ranking impact,” Blome said.

The takeaway

It will take some time to see how the new system affects this year’s freshmen class, which began their high school careers in August.

More elective options open up in sophomore and junior year, West said. Whether the new system results in higher attendance for certain electives won’t be seen until then.

Meanwhile, there isn't any concern of any drawback from the new system, West said. Electives, while not counting in GPA, still appear on transcripts. A failing grade will still mean no credit but no longer result in a student falling out of the top percentage of their class, which can mean guaranteed admission to many state schools.

“To gauge if this is working, I think we’ll look at a couple different things,” West said. “Continuous enrollment in our athletics and visual performing art programs. Career and technology enrollment. Perhaps some of our students take a chance on an AP class that’s an elective.”