College Grades Are Written in Stone or They Used to Be

With the actual value of college degrees being questioned more frequently, I don't think that this story helps to support  the case of higher education:

...One day next month every student at Loyola Law School Los Angeles will awake to a higher grade point average.


The school is retroactively inflating its grades, tacking on 0.333 to every grade recorded in the last few years. The goal is to make its students look more attractive in a competitive job market...
What is more disturbing about this story:
  1. How little grades actually mean considering they can be changed across the board after the fact? or,

  2. That college execs would think that a hiring agency does so little due diligence on candidates that an applicant with a 3.40 grade point is much more appealing than the same person with a 3.10 GPA?
And where is the cut-off for enhancing Loyola graduates' GPAs? Three years of graduates get the bonus points? Five years? Ten years?

Wherever it falls, with my luck, I am sure I would be in the first year not included--if I had attended that Cali school.

25 comments:

Sue said...

And what does that teach students? Work hard... or don't, the school will give you a helping hand getting a job?? Why not work on tutoring or other programs to help it's students raise their GPA the old-fashioned way? UGH

JennyMac said...

Not only is it an odd concept, the fact that the people hiring in the competitive job market will also be aware they are doing this defeats the purpose, no?

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

I am in total agreement with Sue!

If I were back in college and they had this system, I'm not sure I'd try any harder to get better grades in hopes that they would continue to tack on more points to raise my GPA!

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

That's ridiculous! If the job market is so competitive and the job market is down, then that should encourage students to work HARDER while they are in school and preparing them for the "real world."

J. J. in Phila said...

A lot of times it is not the GPA, but the overall quality and reputation of the school.

I have a friend with a 3.5 GPA wh wanted to transfer. Because he attends a school that has a poor academic record, and his SAT's are low, he has been generally rejected.

Something like this can only hurt the other graduates of the school.

Matthew Rush said...

Well this is really stupid ... but I will say that I used to work in a big law firm and they DO pay a lot of attention to GPA when hiring, not that that makes this right or anything.

Audrey Allure said...

There is a good intention, but I don't think it's a good idea. Those students should definitely work for their GPAs.

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

That is crazy. As someone who worked hard for a 3.97 GPA, I would be offended if my college did this.

Herding Cats said...

Interesting. I actually know a few people that went to Loyola. I'm not sure what the motive is here ....except that maybe their alumni are pissed they can't find jobs? Um, hello - that's not because of your GPA. It's called this economy sucks!

malone8 said...

This isn't being done for the students, but to try and make the school look better.

There has to be resentment on the part of those students who aren't having their points boosted.

Whatever happened to "honesty is the policy?" The school is now teaching the students that cheating is best.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
Like everyone, I think this is stupid. And what does it say about the students? They've been taught by people who fudge the truth.

Exactly what is wrong with our legal system today.
Ann T.

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

That's crap! What are they thinking? Just goes to show that they might need a little more educating themselves!

angelcel said...

Oh, so much for me to say in a comments box because I feel so passionately about this and it's akin to what has been happening across the board over here.

To precis it down, over here the government has shifted goal posts to make it look as though our children's education is improving. Unfortunately business leaders have at the same time complained that new job applicants lack even the basic skills of being able to put good English sentences together and are unable to perform even basic maths. Periodically, when there was enough of a public outcry, examining bodies were told to mark more stiffly and allow fewer A and A* grades.

That is *so* unfair on those students who hit those retro shift years.

Manipulating grades to alter statistics is disgraceful and ultimately a recipe for disaster - now all other colleges will look at Loyola and consider doing the same. It makes a mockery of the exam system.

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
Excellent post...and some great comments.

Reminds me so much of all this "levelling of the palying fields"...
Whatever happened to personal responsibility and just rewards for good performances?

Elena said...

My son just registered for college yesterday and during the orientation I was surprised to hear they use a curve. He was happy to hear that to get an A one only has to get a 90 whereas in his high school he had to get over a 94. His GPA on graduation was over 3.5 but one counselor said had he gone to a city high school instead of the county he would have had over a 4.0 because they use a 10 point grading system.

BTW, city students can go to this community college free, but not him. The ironic part is that the drop-out rate for "free" students is huge, even with the curve. It seems making it too "easy" for students does not help them in the long run...

BobKat said...

I can't disclose where I work or exactly what I do - tech support, yes, but my work directly connects me to "GPA's", and I can tell you there's no standard. Plus I've witnessed many mistakes. I should add, I'm speaking about grades K-12, not colleges.

In general GPA's are accurate, interpretation is up to where they go with their GPA. Back when I went to college GPA's did matter, but not as much as today, and we didn't have anywhere near the tests students today have to take. Which gets me wondering if those geniuses on Wall street simply didn't take enough exams during the 60's, 70's and 80's. Myself included - though I'm not anywhere close to having a golden parachute!

stepmumoftheyear said...

I remember that in between my HSC (what you guys call SATs) and my sister's, the grading rules were changed so that students got, on average, an extra 5/100 marks.

Meh. Frustrating.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

That really defeats the purpose of the GPA.

When I was a TA during grad school, we were told NOT to give out easy grades because someone needed to boast their average to get into a professional program. I mean seriously, if you can't play basketball, then don't take it. (btw, I taught anatomy and exercise physiology, not basketball).

TaZmaNiA said...

During my college life, I was surprised to know that the management has set rules for the grades like how many should get A's, B's,C's & F's in a class !!! any doctor who gives A's to many students will be interrogated !!

BobKat said...

Grades always seem more important in schools... but it's when they interpret and calculate GPA's, Honor Roll that things get interesting. Then there are students who transfer in - and how their grades are interpreted and calculated.

Fortunately for me, I was an average student and there wasn't any point in - if I knew then what I know now - argue with them.

Example: In '94 I completed my 3RD degree, during which one of my teachers was notorious for teaching something, testing, and grading correct answers wrong... I've have to argue and feel like "what's the big deal, B+ or A?" She wouldn't want to admit she taught one thing and graded a test incorrectly. My GPA was 3.9, and that was accurate. I was proud of that accomplishment.

Parents or students high up there with their GPA's need to be especially vigilant about their grades and how they're used in calculations. It's a student's right to go over a transcript, and the data that went into making it what it is. I strongly encourage you to do that!

WomanHonorThyself said...

HAVE AN AMAZING 4TH OF JULY my friend..hugs!

Theresa Milstein said...

That's so strange. I wonder if they'll do it if there's enough backlash.

About eight years ago, Harvard got bad press because people said grades were inflated. But I was a teaching fellow at the time, and I never saw a harder working group of students. Obviously smart too, since they went to Harvard. Any student who got less than an A on the midterm spent many hours in my office and e-mailing me to do better next time. Before a big research paper was due, they kept e-mailing me drafts to see if there was anything they could do to improve their papers. Those were well-deserved A's.

kathryn said...

Yikes....that's comforting. Not. I can't help but wonder if a university can bounce back from this kind of negative publicity...now that the cat's out of the bag.

Seems like everyone winds up getting hurt.

LisaF said...

So I suppose they are going to retrofit diplomas with the appropriate honor designation too. Cume Laude becomes Magna Cum Laude and Magna becomes Summa. What does the 4.0 gpa become? If I'd graduated Summa Cum Laude and found out others were ceremoniously being afforded the same honor without the work, I'd be livid.

One can only think that this will become common knowledge in the market and graduates from this school will all now be suspect.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Wow, where was that deal when I flirted with academic probation?