Waiting for Weighting: Kalamazoo Public Schools Should Weight the KAMSC Classes on a 5.0 Scale

Guest Writer Nathan Goodwin-Kelly

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On most weeknights, there are numerous students staying up late into the night, studying and completing assignments.  The Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center is attended by a small portion of Kalamazoo area students. Students take math, science and computer science classes as well as doing at least one scientific research project each year.

The typical KAMSC freshman schedule consists of Honors Biology and an Integrated Math I Informational Technology course. There is not a Honors biology class at Loy Norrix, as Freshman are not allowed to take anything higher than the regular biology class. Most Loy Norrix Freshman also either take geometry or Algebra I as their math class. KAMSC classes go at a much more accelerated pace and go more in depth than the standard math or science class.

The workload is almost the same if not more than the average AP class workload. Despite this, KPS does not currently weight KAMSC grades.

Grant Emenheiser is a sophomore at KAMSC and Loy Norrix. Emenheiser currently takes no AP classes at KAMSC but did take APUSH at Loy Norrix and has a strong opinion on the subject.

 “I think KAMSC should be weighted because KAMSC classes are more challenging than some of the AP Classes here and should be weighted similarly,” said Emenheiser.  “I’d say KAMSC is harder than APUSH.”

ATYP is another program some students take that offers honors Math and English classes and is weighted on the same scale as an AP class. ATYP and KAMSC are very similar in terms of workload, yet ATYP is weighted and KAMSC is not.

KAMSC students also get much more homework than their KPS counterparts. KAMSC sophomore Christian Zehner is in his first year at KAMSC. Zehner’s situation is uncommon as he didn’t attend KAMSC as a freshman. As a freshman, Zehner took AP Calculus at Loy Norrix and also took biology. This year at KAMSC, Zehner takes Advanced Calculus, Chemistry, and Computer Science.  

“I get way more homework at KAMSC then I did last year at Norrix,” said Zehner. “It should definitely be weighted.”

“I don’t understand it,” said  KAMSC and Loy Norrix sophomore Robert Isacksen. “With the amount of work you do at KAMSC, it makes no sense as to why it isn’t weighted.”

The opposition argues that KAMSC classes are honor classes and that weighting them wouldn’t be practical as honors classes at the regular high schools aren’t weighted.

KAMSC students work extremely hard, often spending two to three times the amount of time on their the homework than the average student. Despite all this, many students struggle to achieve A’s at KAMSC which brings down their chances of getting into a prestigious college. If KAMSC grades were weighted, students would reap the benefits of their hard work. Students would be able to prove that their hard work was worth it by seeing a boost in their GPA.  

KAMSC needs to be weighted as the workload is much more substantial than the average honors class at Kalamazoo Public Schools and in some cases can be more work than advanced placement classes. KAMSC students from around the area have their KAMSC grades weighted.   Other advanced academic programs are weighted so KAMSC should be. Students would have more of an incentive to stay in KAMSC if their grades were weighted. KAMSC Students at KAMSC would receive a GPA increase when applying to colleges and would be equally compensated for their extra work.

6 responses to “Waiting for Weighting: Kalamazoo Public Schools Should Weight the KAMSC Classes on a 5.0 Scale

  1. It seems the majority of your argument rests on the supposed increased difficulty of KAMSC classes, yet classroom difficulty isn’t an entirely objective measure. Some students may find the classes easy, others hard, and still others could say some KAMSC classes are easier than ones offered at LN. The subjectivity of this makes a bad reason to weigh classes. Further, are you arguing that all KAMSC classes should be weighted? Because that certainly seems entirely unfair to regular LN students who couldn’t possibly keep up in GPA ranking, even with multiple AP classes.
    I would also like to point out that some KAMSC classes are already, in fact, weighted. And that colleges will know what KAMSC is, and adjust their grade expectations based on that knowledge. So getting a B+ instead of an A- due to the supposed difficulty of KAMSC classes isn’t as detrimental as you make it out to be.
    Lastly, some may see other reasons for AP classes being weighted. Such as their potential for college credit, a huge benefit that furthers KPS’S college going culture.

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    • I highly disagree with you. KAMSC is a very prestigious program and if someone found the classes “easy,” I’d be damned. There’s a reason why this program exists and the fact that regular honors classes are weighted and KAMSC isn’t is a problem. KAMSC offers rigorous and exclusive classes, and the students that attend the program aren’t given sufficient credit for their hard work. AND, yes, KAMSC kids should have a GPA higher than regular AP students since KAMSC instructs AP level classes at an advanced level.

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    • This argument was more on the fact that honors classes should be weighted to a similar standard as AP classes. While the argument was subjective, it’s hard to prove that a class is “harder” than another by using fact based arguments. One could argue workload is a good measure of how hard a class is but the best way to measure how challenging a class is by getting feedback from people who have taken the courses. I thought the author brings up a valid point agree with the fact that colleges weight KAMSC to a certain extent, however there are people that struggle to get into their college of choice because they didn’t achieve A’s at KAMSC.

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  2. I just finished my freshman year in KAMSC. In the math course, we were given 40-50, multi step, math problems every night for homework. We were then tested on a 7-10 section chapter about every two weeks. Biology was similar but with an even smaller turn around time from learning the material to taking the test. This is much more work than a Loy Norrix student would receive or be expected to understand in such a small amount of time. Also, the argument about LN students not being able to catch up to KAMSC students with the higher GPA rankings isn’t even an issue. LN students aren’t KAMSC students, KAMSC students are in KAMSC for a reason. It takes a lot of effort and time and testing to be accepted into KAMSC, let alone stay in the program. ATYP is an extremely similar program to KAMSC and it is weighted. For most KAMSC students it’s not about having a 5.0 GPA, it’s about staying at the 4.0 that they would have if they were taking the less challenging versions of their classes. If you can manage a B+ in a KAMSC class that is a great accomplishment, but that B+ doesn’t look good on your transcript or for your GPA. Yes the college of our choice might learn to live with the fact that we got a B- in math but they aren’t going to look past the fact that we don’t meet the GPA requirement even though we worked extremely hard to get the grades that we did. KAMSC is extremely difficult and shouldn’t be compared to LN honors classes because they are extremely different.

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  3. KAMSC too easy. I could do it with no effort. Keep waiting for your weighting. It’ll be as light as a feather for as long as time stands.

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