How Is CASAA GPA Calculated?

When creating an application strategy for CAA school, GPA is an important component. Whether you're trying to decide if you should take additional courses or whether you should retake a course, it's helpful to know how CASAA (Centralized Application Service for Anesthesiologist Assistants) calculates GPA.

CASAA calculates its own GPA

The basis of understanding CASAA GPAs is realizing that CASAA calculates its own GPAs. In other words, the GPA on the transcript from your school(s) might not match the GPA on your verified application. Why? Well, CASAA ensures that all GPAs are calculated using the exact same formula.

This levels the playing field for all applicants, eliminating variations caused by different universities' GPA calculation methods. For instance, if one university forgives the lower of two grades for a repeated course and another does not, CASAA's standardized approach removes such disparities, preventing applicants without grade forgiveness from being at a disadvantage.

In addition to understanding CASAA's unique GPA calculation method, it's helpful to be aware that CASAA calculates and reports various types or subsets of your GPA. Before delving into these different GPAs, let's explore how CASAA performs GPA calculations.

How does CASAA actually calculate GPA?

CASAA GPA is equal to quality points divided by attempted credits. That begs the question, what are quality points? Each grade you enter, either A-F or 0-100, in the "grade" field on the application is converted to a standard CASAA numeric grade value and then multiplied by the attempted credits, resulting in quality points. Also keep in mind that CASAA calculates all GPAs in semester hours, so courses that were completed in quarter hours must be converted to semester hours. The conversion ratio is 1.0 quarter hours - 0.667 semester hours.

The image below summarizes CASAA's GPA calculations.

To determine the CASAA numeric grade value for your grades, CASAA's numeric grade values can be found here.

Let's do a sample GPA calculation using the following table, courtesy of the CASAA website.

For simplicity sake, let's say you only have the five courses in the above table on your transcript.

You received an "A" in MATH 1100, which was a 4 credit course. An "A" is awarded a numeric grade value of 4 by CASAA. In order to determine the quality points, we must multiple the numeric grade value by the number of credits, which would be 4x4 = 16.

Next, you received a "B" in ENGL 1310, which was a 3 credit course. A "B" is awarded a numeric grade value of 3 by CASAA. Once again, we'll multiply the credit hours by the numeric grade value to determine the quality points. In this case, it is 3x3=9.

As a third example of quality points calculation, let's look at GEOL 1610, which was a 4 credit hour course , and you received a "C". A "C" is awarded a number grade value of 2, so when we multiply the credit hours by the numeric grade value, we get 8 (4x2).

Fourthly, you received a "D" in PHED 1000, a 3 credit course. A "D" earns you only 1 on the numeric grade value scale according to CASAA, which means you would earn only 3 quality points (3x1).

Lastly, you received an "F" in PSCI 1040, which would result in zero quality points, since an "F" earns zero on the number value scale.

Finally, we can calculate your GPA by dividing the number of quality points by the attempted credits. In this case it would be (16+9+8+3)/17=2.12.

You almost certainly have more than five courses on your transcript, so you could repeat this process to include all of your courses.

Which GPAs do CASAA calculate?

CASAA calculates and reports GPAs by both year level and by subject to admissions committees. Here are the GPAs CASAA reports:

  • Cumulative undergraduate (which includes the classes from, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior year, AND any post-baccalaureate courses taken)
  • Post-baccalaureate (includes post-baccalaureate courses only)
  • Graduate (includes graduate-level courses only)
  • Course subjects (math, science, and social science)
  • Prerequisite (includes required and preffered courses only)
  • Overall (includes undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate)

Cumulative undergraduate GPA

Your cumulative undergraduate GPA takes into account all your classes from freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year. Additionally in the calculation, CASAA takes into account any post-baccalaureate courses you take, which are additional non-graduate-level courses that are taken after you've already earned your undergraduate degree.

For example, if you already graduated with a business degree, discover the CAA profession, and then decide to go back to school to complete the prerequisites, those prerequisite courses would be post-bacc classes and would be considered part of your undergraduate GPA.

If you haven't taken any post-bacc courses, your cumulative undergraduate GPA would simply be calculated from the classes you took freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year.

Post-baccalaureate GPA

Any courses you take after graduating from undergraduate that are not part of a graduate-level program would be used to calculate your post-baccalaureate, or "post-bacc" GPA.

It can be particularly helpful for admissions committees to see the post-bacc GPA separate from the undergraduate GPA to readily compare the two. If you completed your undergraduate degree, weren't pleased with your grades, but then went back and performed well in post-bacc courses, application reviewers will be able to recognize the progress and growth you've had.

Graduate GPA

This one is relatively straight-forward. If you've completed any graduate-level courses, those courses would comprise your graduate GPA.

For example, if you had previously attended pharmacy school and then decided you wanted to be a CAA, all your courses from pharmacy school would be factored into your graduate GPA.

Course subject GPAs

CASAA also calculates subject-specific GPAs, in particular, math, science, and social science. CASAA does this by classifying each of your courses into one of these three categories. You can find a comprehensive list of which courses fit into which subject here.

When you're entering your courses into CASAA, it will ask you to classify the subject of each course. If you're ever unsure about which subject to choose, you should default to the department the course is offered through. During verification, any course subjects that were incorrectly selected will be corrected on CASAA's end.

Prerequisite GPA

The prerequisite courses for a program, whether required or preferred, are taken into account when CASAA calculates the prerequisite GPA.

It's worth noting that different programs may have different required prerequisite courses, so be sure to check each program's website.

Overall GPA

Finally, your overall GPA includes everything (i.e. undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate courses).

The table below is an example of calculating overall GPA. If we recall that GPA is calculated by dividing quality points by the number of attempted credits, we can see that a GPA of 3.10 is determined by diving 1034.4 by 334.

Phew, that was a lot, but now you know how GPA is calculated and which GPAs are calculated by CASAA.

What about non-graded items?

Non-graded items, meaning courses for which you did not earn an actual letter grade, are not included in the GPA calculation. For example, advanced placement (AP) credits and pass/fail courses do not contribute to GPA.

What about repeated courses?

All grades earned for repeated courses are factored into your CASAA GPA. Put another way, if you take a course three times, all three grades factor into your GPA

There is one potential exception, which has to do with how you match your prerequisite courses within CASAA. Your prerequisite GPA is calculated based off the courses you match to the prerequisites. If you only match your best attempt, your prerequisite course GPA will be higher. This won't change your cumulative undergrad GPA, post-bacc GPA, graduate GPA, or subject GPAs.

If you've already submitted your application and matched all attempts (both low and high) at a particular course, don't fret. Admissions committees would still have seen all your attempts even if you hadn't matched every attempt within the prerequisite section because they can see your entire transcript.

What about a W or WF?

A "W", which represents a withdrawal, is not calculated into your CASAA GPA. However, a "WF", which stands for withdrawal while failing, does factor into your GPA and is assigned the same numeric value of an "F". In other words, a "WF" is worth zero on CASAA's numeric grade value scale.

How can I know what my CASAA GPAs are?

You will not know your CASAA GPA until your application is verified, unless you calculate it yourself. Thankfully, CASAA provides an excel sheet with detailed instructions if you'd like to calculate your own GPAs instead of waiting until your application is verified. You can download the excel sheet below.

This tool can be especially helpful if you're strategically assessing how taking additional courses or retaking ones in which you scored low would affect your GPA.

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Sarah is the founder of Aspiring CAA, a practicing certified anesthesiologist assistant, clinical preceptor, and assistant professor at a master of medical science program. With admission committee experience and an intricate knowledge of the admissions process, she helps guide prospective CAA students on their career journey.

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About this blog

Aspiring CAA is the go-to blog for expert advice on how to become a CAA. Founded by a practicing certified anesthesiologist assistant, clinical preceptor, and assistant professor at a master of medical science program in anesthesiology, Aspiring CAA makes admissions guidance readily available to all aspiring anesthesiologist assistants. With admission committee experience and an intricate knowledge of the admissions process, Aspiring CAA takes the guess work out of applying to CAA school.

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