Thursday, December 16, 2010

First Semester Blues

Grades make no sense. The GPA points system is extremely unclear. At Graziadio, an A gets 4 pts/unit, an A- get 3.7 pts/unit, B+ gets 3.3 pts/unit, B gets 3.0 pts/unit, etc. There is nothing in between. If you got a 90% or 94%, you still get 3.7. Also, in some classes, I've noticed that teachers grade down. If you got an "A-" on a presentation, they put it in the gradebook as a 90. If you got an "A", it's a 94. With this scale, you will always average out to the lower grade, even if your actual performance was closer to a high A- or an average A- (94, and 92 respectively).

There are certain classes I've worked very hard in and felt that no one got an A, including those who probably put forth A level work. In some classes where the grading it more quantitatively explained, I am okay just being shy of an A, for example, in a class where I was 9 pts off from an A (out of 950, marginal by percentage). This is not just the difference between an A- or an A but anyone who feels like they should be getting a B+ instead of a B, etc. With the GPA points system so definitely defined in these wide margins, someone with a B- ends up in the 2.something category.

They say this is "B-school" and B's are expected graduate level work, but in a field like consulting, my grades were required just to apply for an internship. To differentiate ourselves from the competition, especially when our competition are name schools like UCLA Anderson and USC Marshall, clarifying the grade point system is extremely important, as is coming to a unified understanding of an "A" versus "A-" versus "B+" etc. It is every professor's discretion to grade and curve or not curve as they see fit and I am not trying to debate that, but I am also trying to understand how the "best" a person can get in a class is a 94%? Doesn't that mean we enter the course only going down from there? This issue should be addressed with faculty going forward to ensure that there are at least some As in the class, without being perfect. Exceptional effort and learning can be demonstrated without perfection and it's important that those students be acknowledged and their GPAs are not dramatically penalized.

1 comment:

  1. My B-school also utilizes plus and minus grades. I've been in my program since the Fall of 2009, and I have only gotten 1 precious A (all the rest have been A-, B+ or Bs). I also am employed by a (different) university where I screen admission applications for some advance degree certificate programs. The applicants have master degrees in education and counseling and usually have straight As (4.0s) across the board. Now I'm not the smartest person in the world; but I somehow feel that I'm missing out on the 'grad school grade inflation'.