Juniors and sophomores at Hilliard high schools will have the chance to improve their GPAs based on honors-level classes completed last year.

Juniors and sophomores at Hilliard high schools will have the chance to improve their GPAs based on honors-level classes completed last year.

After lengthy consideration, district officials have decided to retroactively apply grades earned in such classes.

The decision was in reaction to parents' concerns that some students were at an academic disadvantage stemming from a new, weighted GPA policy that went into effect this year for honors-level courses.

The retroactive application will not apply to seniors and freshmen.

Seniors are enrolled in Advanced Placement courses rather than honors-level classes and freshmen are not yet enrolled in honors-level classes, said district spokeswoman Amanda Morris.

"College admissions and scholarships that use grade-point-averages are also all but done by now for seniors," Morris said.

Superintendent John Marschhausen explained the policy to the school board Jan. 27.

"After parents made their concerns known, the administration sat down and decided what our software can and can't do to address the problem, and what it would cost the district to perform the things we could do," Marschhausen said.

Honors-level classes are a step between standard classes and AP classes. Weighted GPAs have historically been applied to AP classes, but had not been applied to honors classes until this year.

At board meetings earlier this school year, parents argued that the new policy is unfair to students enrolled in the same classes last year who performed at the same level, yet will have lower GPAs to show for the effort.

Marschhausen said in June, the district will take the academic records of all sophomores and juniors and recalculate GPAs, once with the weighted GPAs applied retroactively and once without, giving students the higher of the two results.

The district will do so again in January 2015, June 2015 and for the final time in January 2016, Marschhausen said.

The district ran simulations with and without retroactive application of weighed GPAs and found little variation, but in limited circumstances, some GPAs were lower when the retroactive weighting was not applied, dropping those students from their school's top 10, Marschhausen said.

"We thought that was not fair," he said.

It will be a time-consuming effort, district officials said.

"It will take our IT three full days to run the program each time we do it," Marschhausen said.

GPAs for the purpose of class rankings will not be a factor beginning with the district's seventh-grade students, the class of 2019.

At the start of this school year, the school board enacted a policy effective for the 2018-19 school year to suspend the practice of academically ranking the students in each graduating class.

Marschhausen said district administrators will investigate alternative ways to recognize individual academic achievement.