GPA weight of lifetime fitness classes is unfair

By Rider Farris | Reporter

When it comes to registration, students are often concerned about several things. In addition to searching for the ideal class schedule and the perfect professor, students pay much attention the number of hours they are going to be taking.

Students must take more than 12 hours to be considered a full-time student, but must have less than 18 unless they are granted special permission, according to the Baylor University advisement website. The majority of classes at Baylor are three hours, but, there are always a few courses that are a bit different from the rest.

Some courses, such as lifetime fitness classes, are listed as one-hour courses even though they require the same amount of in-class instruction time as a traditional three-hour course. Although these courses are less rigorous and are not considered academic, the courses still require the student to be present for 75 percent of class meetings. This means that students meet in their class for approximately three hours every week and are only granted credit for one of those hours.

Although many students finish the semester without any thought of the unfairness of this rule, I myself am dealing with it for the third time. My freshman year, I took Health and Human Behavior. It met twice a week and lasted for 50 minutes each day, but it was only listed as a one-hour course.

My sophomore year, I took my first lifetime fitness course and dealt with the issue again when I was meeting for an hour and fifteen minutes twice a week, but was only receiving one hour’s worth of credit. Now, in my senior year, I am taking another lifetime fitness course, this time meeting three times a week for 50 minutes each day, and I’m only receiving credit for one.

Some may not find this fact irksome, but when you look into the issue a bit further, a real issue can be seen. Two hours per week disappear when a student is in one of these often required courses. While lifetime fitness classes are not generally considered rigorous, many require both written and skills test, for which students may need to study or practice. This means that many students apply honest effort, study and practice, and receive a grade that at the end of the semester is not weighted accurately in their calculated GPA. If a student spends three hours per week in a class, that class’s weight on their GPA should reflect that.

Additionally, issues regarding this arise when looking at students who work or are actively searching for a job. Upon being hired for a job, many students are asked how many hours they are taking or planning on taking. Generally, hiring managers do this in an attempt to gauge how much time the student will need off for class and homework. But, if a student is taking a one-hour course that requires three class meetings per week and the occasional study or practice session for a test, the hiring manager is going to get an incorrect look at the student’s time schedule.

Baylor should move to change this rule so that students are given credit for the amount of time that they spend in the classroom (or on the court). At the end of the day, the number of hours a course is assigned effects every student’s GPA. For the sake of fairness and accuracy, the grade for a one-hour and a three-hour course should be the same, as long as the two classes meet an equal number of times over the course of a week.