Jericho High School in Long Island, New York, has named 15 valedictorians for its graduating class of about 315 students, a record number for the school. The valedictorians, who all achieved an unweighted GPA of 4.0, will each speak for 90 seconds at the commencement ceremony. The school uses an unweighted formula to select valedictorians, under which any student who receives a top score in all their high school classes receives that honor. Some call it the « A-plus method. » Most other schools use weighted systems. The school board is considering revising the system to take into account the rigor of the courses students take.
While students and educators celebrated the high achievers, some questioned whether the growing number of valedictorians renders the distinction less distinctive. The system does not distinguish between the rigor of the courses students take, for example, between an Advanced Placement course and a regular class. Some of the toughest courses a few valedictorians said they took were AP courses in chemistry, physics, and calculus. Students noted the competitive culture at Jericho High School, one of the best-ranked schools in the region as well as the state, and how that should play a role in considering a new system. The school board will get input from students, teachers, and parents in the coming year to decide whether to continue with the unweighted system or adopt a weighted one.
Keywords: Jericho High School, valedictorians, unweighted formula, weighted system, Advanced Placement, competitive culture.
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