Getting to know the cum laude system


What are Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Summa Cum Laude?  

These terms – terms that have replaced the class ranking system at Canfield High School – indicate degrees of high academic achievement.  The requirements that need to be met vary from school to school. At Canfield High School, the specifications are as follows. Cum Laude, which means “with distinction,” is the lowest level of prestige. A student must obtain a 4.01 to 4.09 grade point average (GPA).  Magna Cum Laude, or “with great distinction,” is a slightly higher honor. One needs a 4.1-4.19 GPA to achieve this. The “highest distinction” is Summa Cum Laude.  Only a few seniors have what it takes to acquire this 4.2 or above GPA.

At Canfield High School, the administration is throwing out the weighted system for the upcoming class of 2024.  In order to get cum laude, one needs to have a 3.9-4.0 in a total of four AP, CCP or advanced classes. This increases in intervals of two classes as one goes up the cum laude scale.  Dr. Heikkinen, CHS guidance counselor, said about her thoughts on the new system, “an A is an A” in the new grading scale. For example, if one student takes AP Government and the other takes regular Government and they each receive a B in their class, it will count as a 3.0.  The ranking system in the high school will also be thrown out.

The administration hopes that this will “take some of the pressure off the students.”  The guidance department at Canfield High School has heard multiple anecdotes about how students are being treated unfairly based on their class rank and the competition involved in the ranking system.  The new system is claimed to “level out the playing field” and relieve stress for the future high school students. Our fellow peers have different views on this adjustment. Some wish to keep the system we have and others want the change.

Canfield High School has lived up to its competitive reputation for many years and still proceeds to do so. One main aspect that the students “compete” against is the grading scale, GPA system and cum laude system. Students want the reputation of being the “top” in their class and being superior to their peers. The grading scale begins its grading at a 90-100 scale for an A, an 80-89 for a B, and so on. 

Senior Reilly Todd said, “I think our grading scale should be different based on the class you have. If you have a CCP course, the scale should be 90-100 to follow YSU’s guidelines. If you have an art class or non CCP course, it should be 93-100.”

Currently, our weighted system begins with AP and CCP classes weighted at a five, Honors and Advanced are weighted at 4.5, and all other classes are weighted at a 4. For the upcoming freshmen who will be graduating in 2024, the GPA and weighted system will be changed beginning at a 3.9 and ending at a 4.0 to accommodate with the Magna, Summa and Cum laude systems. The opinions range from liking the system to wanting to change it.

Again, Todd said, “I like our GPA system, but I think the art, choir, computer classes should not be weighted because they are not core classes. Only math, science, English, and history should be weighted.”

Todd expressed this opinion because he feels as though “core classes” will be more beneficial in life, rather than a requirement of an art credit or music credit. Although that may be what one might want to pursue in life, they will still need the “basics.”

Junior Zoe Guzman said, “I like our GPA system. Partly because they are a different difficulty, you should not be given the same credit as someone who is taking AP Calc versus someone taking Integrated Algebra 1.”

Guzman claimed these were her opinions given the circumstances. She has seen people that are graduating or that have already graduated that have received a high GPA just because of an integrated class that they have paired with an advanced elective, such as computer science, art or choir. In order to “level the playing field,” Canfield High School will be making changes, which will hopefully benefit the student body.