Requesting quarter grades

For early decision and early action schools, most seniors across the nation have the option to send quarter grades, giving colleges insight into a student’s success in more difficult courses taken during senior year. Yet, at Palo Alto High School, it has always been standard to only send these reports when they are required by the college due to the extensive work it would add for Paly Registrar Suzie Brown. The Campanile, however, believes that placing this limitation unfairly prevents students from showing an upward trend in their grade point average (GPA) and from compensating for prior grades.

According to Brown, in order to send quarter grades to colleges, she must go through the arduous process of examining each student’s individual academic record and downloading the report to send to colleges. As a result, she only has time to send quarter grades for colleges that require them, even though most universities allow students to submit quarter grades.

Many students step up their game in senior year, with college finally in sight, and students who received less than satisfactory grades junior and sophomore year must make the choice of whether to apply early to their dream schools or to bring up their GPAs in their first semester of senior year and apply regular decision. Quarter grades provide a way to achieve the best of both worlds; they encourage students to apply early to colleges, allow them to finish the application process early, and give students a way to demonstrate a higher level of achievement in their school performance.

This issue of creating additional work for Brown as she sends quarter grades could be solved by allowing students to request quarter grade reports from their teacher advisors (TAs) along with the transcript and secondary school report in the Common Application. This proposed system would function under Palo Alto Unified School District’s regulations, according to Brown. This way, the job of sending quarter grades would be distributed across different TAs, and Brown would not carry all the responsibility of having to go through the time-consuming process of sending grades for all seniors.

By instituting a system that allows Paly students to send grades without requiring Brown to take on all the responsibility, seniors will be given the opportunity to display improvement or show greater academic achievement in their senior year, which can help them during the stressful time of college applications. Ultimately, students should always be given the option to display to colleges their accomplishments, and Paly should make its best efforts to allow students to do so.