Friday, October 29, 2010

The Numbers May Not Lie, But Not All GPAs Are Created Equal

Grades from the first marking period will soon be in the mail. I can't remember specific grades from my first report card in sophomore year, but I am sure it will be similar to our teen's. Stronger in the liberal arts, better in geometry than algebra, not so hot in physics but not for lack of trying.

Nor do I remember my class rank out of 400 or so students. It was respectable, I think, but maybe not stellar, for the reasons above (algebra and science).

Here's a take on the issue of GPA and why it is so difficult to compare grade point averages from different schools. One admissions officer calls it "precision guesswork." It's because rigor of classes, even cultural and geographic variations, can affect a GPA, and provide challenges in comparison.

As imperfect a measure as it is, the GPA remains an important element of student selection for this one reason: it has proven to be the strongest indicator of the ability to complete college, at at time when, according to a study a few years ago, it takes nearly 50 percent of college students six years to finish a four-year program.

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