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As your homeschooler prepares to move to the next stage of their education with college, the military, or a vocational school, you will need to put together a transcript that documents they have completed a normal course of high school study. The transcript should include a Grade Point Average that documents how well they achieved in high school.

Determining you child's GPA takes three basic steps. Before you begin, you must have a grade for each class your child has taken and you must know the credit count for each class.

Individual Class Grades

Each final grade for high school level classes should be an objective measure of what was learned in the class. If you purchased a formal curriculum, including a test packet, the final grade can be the average of all the tests. For classes, such as English or History, you may want to use a grading rubric that breaks down how points can be earned. For example, shorter papers may be worth up to 50 points each while a 15-page research paper may be worth 300 points.

Whether you assign a letter grade or a number grade, you must transform each grade into a set of Quality Points. The chart below shows you how. Record the Quality Points assigned to each class.

GradeRange Quality Points
A 92-100 4.0
A- 90-91.9 3.7
B+ 88-88.9 3.3
B 82-82.9 3.0
B- 80-81.9 2.7
C+ 78-79.9 2.3
C 72-77.9 2.0
C- 70-71.9 1.7
D+ 68-69.9 1.3
D 60-67.9 1.0
F Below 60 0.0

Determining Credit Hours

Next, you must determine how many credits the course is worth. Most high school classes are measured by Carnegie Units. One Carnegie Unit equals 120 hours of class time, generally defined as direct instruction time - not time spent doing homework or independent work outside of the classroom.

Most high school classes meet for 50-minutes each day, five days a week. Multiply that out and you'll find that it takes almost 29 weeks - or a little less than a full school year - to reach 120 hours. Some courses are designed to only last half as long or less, making it a .5 or .25 credit course.

As a homeschoolers parent you do have some flexibility with determining credit hours. For example, you can still grant one full high school credit for Algebra 2 even if your child successfully completes the course in four months, rather than the traditional 9-10 months. Some online courses are self-paced, allowing a student to compact a year's worth of material into a shorter period of time. Again, if the student has successfully completed the entire syllabus, one full credit can be granted.

Calculating a GPA

To figure a semester's GPA, you must recalculate the number of Quality Points for each class by multiplying the Grade Value by the number of Carnegie Units.

Next, you total all the Quality Points in one column and the Recalculated Quality Points in the next column. Divide the sum of attempted Carnegie Units into the sum of Recalculated Quality Points to determine the GPA.

Course Grade Quality PointsCarnegie Unit Recalculated QP
English B 3.01 3.0
Algebra 1 A- 3.71 3.7
US Government A 4.01 4.0
Biology A 4.01 4.0
Music B 3.0.5 1.5
TOTAL 4.5 16.2

16.2 / 4.5     =    3.6     =     GPA

Our example calcuates GPA for one year of high school work. Most colleges and the military will look for a minimum of 20 completed high school credits on a transcript.


March 29, 2020


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