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.
- College Preparatory
- Honors (H)
- Advanced Placement (AP)
- International Baccalaureate (IB)
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. Beginning with the Class of 2023, GPA will be calculated using final grades in all LMSD courses on students’ transcripts. Honors, AP, and IB 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/Honors|
Courses designated college preparatory level are designed to meet the needs of students 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.
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.