Equal Weight: At end of year, CHS administration should reconsider regular weight of Precalculus


Riya Chinni

Walking into precalculus, Iwas prepared for a challenging year. However, I did not expect such a shift in mathematical thinking. I knew what I signed up for when I chose regular precalculus—a difficult class that wouldn’t provide much help to my GPA.

While choosing math courses for the upcoming year during my freshman year, I was faced with a difficult decision: I could either take fully-weighted honors precalculus or regularly-weighted precalculus. I chose the latter, deciding that the additional stress of honors precalculus wasn’t worth the full weight.

However, because it is fully weighted, honors precalculus is more appealing to many students, but the added stress of a more demanding math course pushed me to take regular precalculus. CHS should consider converting regular precalculus to a partial weight in order to incentivize it for those students like me who are hesitant to take regular precalculus due to the lack of a GPA boost but do not want to take the honors course.

Though regular precalculus isn’t weighted, it still is the middle ground between intermediate and honors precalculus. A common opinion, as well as a strong belief of mine, is that regular precalculus should be partially weighted. CHS determines course weight based off of how difficult a course is, and science and English courses follow a three-class model where weight is regular, partial and full, respectively. Since CHS offers precalculus at three different diffic

ulty levels, shouldn’t these classes follow the same model?

Some might argue the class is not difficult enough to earn the partial weight, but it is important to take into consideration that most regular precalculus students are sophomores and juniors taking a course that is already beyond their grade level. The course has been extremely strenuous at times, as it demands a lot of time and effort from students. Even going into regular precalculus from an honors Algebra II background, the transition to the “precalculus mindset” was tough. It required a great deal of dedication that I was not used to having to put into math. Even after I became accustomed to the precalculus-style thinking and grasped a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts, the content still proved challenging.

  Regular precalculus students do not have the comfort of knowing their GPA will not plummet if they don’t do as well in the class. The fear of a lower GPA pushes precalculus students to put in more time and effort and deal with more stress in order to keep their grade up. While more effort is never a bad thing, it should be rewarded with a little breathing room for regular precalculus students in the form of a partial weight for the class.