Advanced Placement courses will carry more weight under a new class ranking policy adopted by the Livingston Parish School Board last week.

Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, students will receive an extra point toward their grade-point averages when they pass an AP course. For example, an A in the standard class will still be worth four points, but an A in an AP class will be worth five points. F’s will still award no points, regardless of the difficulty of the course.

Also, teachers will begin grading AP students on a 10-point scale, so a number grade of 90 to 100 will grant an A, and 80 to 89 will earn a B. Regular classes will remain on the traditional scale, with scores between 93 and 100 translating to A’s and 85 to 92 earning B’s.

School administrators said the grading scale accounts for the increased difficulty for the higher-level classes. Some honors, gifted, dual-enrollment and college prep classes also may switch to the 10-point scale at the discretion of each school principal, the policy states.

Despite the new ranking system, parish schools will continue their policy of not naming valedictorians or salutatorians, Superintendent John Watson said. Graduates with a 3.75 gpa or higher will earn summa cum laude distinction, while those who complete school with a gpa of at least 3.5 will be recognized as graduating magna cum laude.

The parish needed a ranking system because some universities, such as LSU and Tulane, use class rank to award scholarships, Watson and Assistant Superintendent Rick Wentzel said.

If students have the same gpa, ACT scores will be used to break the tie, followed, if necessary, by the number of AP classes taken and scores on the state’s standardized end-of-course tests.

During last week’s meeting, the School Board also accepted a donation of nearly 16 acres of land south of Denham Springs that could be used to build a new school. The site is on 4-H Club Road next to the planned Nickens Lake subdivision.

Board member Buddy Mincey said the district has 30 years to either build a school there or buy the land before the property reverts back to the donor. School leaders don’t have specific plans, but Mincey said the site could someday hold an elementary or junior high school.

Mincey said the donation is from a corporation led by Lee Foster.

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