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Lower Merion School District


Course Levels

Most courses in the Lower Merion School District Program Planning Guide are taught at more than one level of difficulty to provide an appropriate challenge for students. The designations below are used throughout the Program Planning Guide.

Course Designation

  • College Preparatory
  • Honors (H)
  • Advanced Placement (AP)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • Dual Enrollment (DE)

For students in grades 10-12, Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated at the end of each school year using only final grades in the five major academic areas: English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and World Languages.

For students in grades 10-12, Honors, AP, IB, and DE level courses are calculated on a weighted 5.0 scale, and College Preparatory courses are calculated on a 4.0 scale. GPA is reported on a weighted 5.0 scale.

Grade Unweighted College Prep Weighted AP/IB/DE/Honors
A+ 4.00 5.00
A 4.00 5.00
A- 3.70 4.70
B+ 3.30 4.30
B 3.00 4.00
B- 2.70 3.70
C+ 2.30 3.30
C 2.00 3.00
C- 1.70 2.70
D+ 1.30 2.30
D 1.00 2.00
D- 0.70 1.70
F 0.00 0.00

Beginning with students in grade 9 in the 2024-2025 school year, Grade Point Average (GPA) will be calculated at the end of each school year using final grades from all courses and all content areas.

For students in grade 9, Honors is calculated on a weighted 4.15 scale, and AP, IB, and DE courses are calculated on a weighted 4.25 scale.  College Preparatory courses are calculated on a 4.0 scale.  GPA is reported on a weighted 4.25 scale.

Grade Unweighted College Prep Weighted Honors Weighted AP/IB/DE
A+ 4.00 4.15 4.25
A 4.00 4.15 4.25
A- 3.70 3.85 3.95
B+ 3.30 3.45 3.55
B 3.00 3.15 3.25
B- 2.70 2.85 2.95
C+ 2.30 2.45 2.55
C 2.00 2.15 2.25
C- 1.70 1.85 1.95
D+ 1.30 1.45 1.55
D 1.00 1.15 1.25
D- 0.70 0.85 0.95
F 0.00 0.00 0.00

College Preparatory

Courses designated college preparatory level are designed to meet the needs of student as they prepare for success in post-secondary life, both college and career. This is the LMSD standard, default course level. Expectations for achievement are maintained at a challenging level for the typical academic student. Grades in College Preparatory level courses are not weighted.

Honors (H)

Courses designated honors level offer faster-paced instruction and expectations that are maintained at a highly rigorous level. Honors level courses often require a high degree of independent work and prepare students for challenges associated with AP and IB courses of study. Grades in honors level courses are weighted.

Advanced Placement (AP)

Courses designated Advanced Placement follow specific curriculum guidelines of the College Board's Advanced Placement Program. Advanced Placement serves students who wish to pursue college-level studies while still in high school.

Students who elect AP courses must be dedicated to increased work that is equivalent to college courses. Students are expected to take the College Board's Advanced Placement Exam at the end of an Advanced Placement course. Grades in AP level courses are weighted.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

The IB Diploma Program (DP) is a two-year curriculum that leads to an internationally recognized high school diploma that is highly respected by universities throughout the world. Additional information about the program is available on the following pages.  Students who opt not to pursue the full Diploma Program are invited to enroll in IB elective courses, designated in this guide as "IB."  IB classes are rigorous, focusing on the development of critical thinking skills within the content areas.  All students enrolled in an IB class are expected to complete all IB assessments.

Dual Enrollment (DE)

Courses designated as dual enrollment provide credit towards high school graduation and earn credits at our partner colleges and universities. These courses are taught by our own high school teachers and are delivered at Lower Merion and Harriton high schools. The course syllabi are approved by the partner colleges and universities. As such, these are rigorous courses and are the equivalent of taking a college level course while in high school. As part of these courses, students will apply to the partner colleges or universities and will receive a transcript from the partner institutions. These transcripts can be requested through the colleges and universities to be shared with other institutions of higher learning and are often accepted as transfer credits.