Friday, June 09, 2006

The Gentleman's C

The New York Times (June 7) had an article on "grade deflation" at BU. Coming from an (undergrad) school that based its honors on class rankings and currently enrolled in another that depends strictly on GPA cut-offs, I tend to favor the former when it comes to evaluating a person's academic (and thus by proxy - work) ability.

While on paper (literally!) my undergrad GPA is only 2.5% (or 0.1/4.0) higher than my grad GPA, in terms of class rankings - I am now somewhere in the bottom half of the pack. No longer in the top 10% of my class. This means I will be able to "graduate with highest honors" at my present institution (if I am an undergrad) based on my GPA, but I will just have a "pass" degree if I am in the former.

(Of course, Grad School is more than just GPA - what matters more is the number of your quality publications and the faculty connections you have.)

"Grades are necessarily comparative of students only within the school in which they are given. They measure your intelligence and effort against that shown by the peers with whom you chose to associate."

So, better to be the top dog in a less competitive environment or to be a goat?

Related: A policy of grade deflation.


Peishan said...

eh comment whore -

medical schools do take into account grade inflation when they assess applicants. if you come from the u of c, for example, where the purported mean is 2.9 or something crazy like that, medical schools will bump your grades up by some weighted averaged amt.

L'oiseau rebelle said...

Heh. One of the most successful professors at my university, by both qualitative and quantitative measures (lots of prestigious journal covers, 4000-5000 citations, grad students get placed into good jobs before defense, etc): The perfect (grad student) grade is B-. Anything more than that, you're not spending enough time in the lab.