Educators calculate weighted GPA by assigning higher values to grades in certain difficult classes to reflect the effort a student puts into the learning process. Instead of the standard 4, an A may be assigned the value of 4.5 or 5 for an advanced or honors class.
Although schools vary in how they arrive at letter grades, the standard numerical values attached to them are 4 for A, 3 for B, 2 for C, 1 for D and 0 for F. Educators add the numerical values of the grades for all classes together and divide by the number of credits to arrive at a standard GPA. However, some schools attach more value to some classes than others and award weighted grades to those classes. For instance, weighted numerical grades for an honors class may be 5 for A, 4 for B, 3 for C, 2 for D and 0 for F. The exact value given to weighted grades and which classes use them varies from school to school and teacher to teacher.
Although weighted grades are used within high schools to evaluate student achievement, colleges and universities often look at unweighted GPAs on high school transcripts so that they can evaluate applicants impartially. Additionally, many colleges consider only core subjects such as math, science, English, social studies and foreign languages and leave out less academic subjects when calculating GPA.