Grade Point Average - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN

Grade Point Average

GPA is a term that gets tossed around a lot in high school and beyond, so it's important to understand what it means. GPA is short for grade point average, which simply shows how well you did in all your classes. A high GPA can help you get scholarships, grants and other awards.

Your GPA is calculated in the following way.

  1. Letter grades are converted into grade points. Each school handles GPAs differently; an example might be:
    1. A = 4.0
    2. B = 3.0
    3. C = 2.0
    4. D = 1.0
  2. Grade points are multiplied by the amount of credit each class is worth. (Typically, each semester-long high school course is worth 0.5 credits.)
  3. The result is the number of grade points earned.
  4. Grade points are added together and divided by the number of credits you tried to earn during the semester.
  5. The result is your grade point average.

This sample chart shows how one student's grades during the course of one semester are converted to a GPA. Remember, your school may handle grade points differently, so check with your school counselor or advisor for your actual GPA.

Class Percent Grade Grade Points Credits Attempted Grade Points Earned
Art 81% B- 2.75 0.5 2.75 x 0.5 = 1.375
English 84% B 3.0 0.5 3.0 x 0.5 = 1.5
History 74% C 2.0 0.5 2.0 x 0.5 = 1.0
Math 93% A 4.0 0.5 4.0 x 0.5 = 2.0
Physical Education 79% C+ 2.25 0.5 2.25 x 0.5 = 1.125
Science 80% B- 2.75 0.5 2.75 x 0.5 = 1.375
      Totals 3.0 attempted (3.0 earned) 8.375
        GPA 8.375 / 3.0 = 2.79

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