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Better than perfect in high school?

PotomacBob

For high schools that grade using the point system (A is 4 points; B is 3, etc.). A I understand it, 4 means perfect. So how is it that some students end high school with better than a 4.0 average? I read a news story last spring about a high school that had several students who were valedictorians in this year's senior class - they all tied with 4.8 (I don't actually remember what the number was but it was considerably higher than 4.0) averages.
How does that happen?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@PotomacBob

For high schools that grade using the point system (A is 4 points; B is 3, etc.). A I understand it, 4 means perfect.


Not necessarily. There are a few schools/school systems out there that use a 5 point system.

There are also schools where most of the student body is on a 4 point system, but AP* courses are worth more, so for a normal class grade values would be D=1, C=2, B=3 A=4, but an AP course it's D=2, C=3, B=4, A=5.

Some schools also allow extra projects completely out side of normal course work for grade credit. Straight As in normal course work + extra credit projects = GPA above 4.0

*AP=Advanced Placement. College level courses offered by a high school for advanced students.

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

From my research I found some of the US school systems have a set state curriculum for calculating the GPA, but they also allow students to do extra classes that can count toward their GPA. So while the set classes may add up to something like 12 units of learning where their total scores for the 12 units are added up and divided by 12 to give the GPA it's possible to up the GPA by doing some other classes that count to the GPA and thus they do 14 units and the total score is divided by only 12 as that's the compulsory number. I found this out some years ago, so i don't know if it still happens.

REP

@Dominions Son

GPA is now a meaningless term. In stead of focusing on the high end, think about the lower end; consider a GPA of 2.

Did the student take 4-point classes with an average of 2 (C) or did they take 5-point classes with an average of 2 (D)?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@REP

GPA is now a meaningless term. In stead of focusing on the high end, think about the lower end; consider a GPA of 2.

Did the student take 4-point classes with an average of 2 (C) or did they take 5-point classes with an average of 2 (D)?


There are a couple of straight 5 point systems in the US, but there aren't enough of them the skew the over all system that much.

As for a nominal 4 point system with 5 point AP classs, they won't let you take a full load of AP classes if you can't do better than a D average.

Replies:   REP  PotomacBob
REP

@Dominions Son

That may be so, but you don't know the mix that gave the student a 2.0 average. Therefore the number has no meaning relative to poor, average, good, excellent.

We also know that rules aren't always enforced and there are always people who get special consideration.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@REP

That may be so, but you don't know the mix that gave the student a 2.0 average. Therefore the number has no meaning relative to poor, average, good, excellent.


True, but even on strict 4.0 systems, there is variance from one school system to the next, one school to the next and even from teacher to teacher in terms of grading standards.

So even with out anything that's been described on this thread, GPAs have never had more than a minimal comparative value beyond an individual school.

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
PotomacBob

@Dominions Son

Are there some classes (i.e., gym, health) that are mandatory yet do not qualify for the 5-points?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Dominions Son

Personally, I view education as a means to an end. The end is the ability to function in a profession and in our society.

For me, it really doesn't matter where a person gets the knowledge as long as they can use it. Grades are just a measuring stick to let the student know if they have attained the amount of knowledge needed from a class and the abilit6y to utilize what they learned.

Dominions Son

@REP

Grades are just a measuring stick


Unfortunately grades are, always have been, and always will be, more like a human body based measure like the cubit (elbow to middle finger tip) than like a standardized modern measuring stick.

helmut_meukel

@REP

Grades are just a measuring stick to let the student know if they have attained the amount of knowledge needed from a class and the abilit6y to utilize what they learned.


I doubt the second part. The ability to utilize what they learned is not covered by the grading system. A student parroting the material will get high grades in most subjects.

HM.

Replies:   REP
REP

@helmut_meukel

Many courses such as chemistry require practical work. That requires the student to apply what was learned, and their actions are graded. So utilization or what they learned is covered by the grading system.

Parroting something only requires the student learn the words they are parroting. In a well-designed course, the grading system will require application of what is being parroted. If the student doesn't understand what is being parroted, they will do poorly when their knowledge is measured.

Unfortunately, many college courses are poorly designed or poorly implemented. For example, my granddaughter is in college. One of her professors administers the same tests every time the class is presented. Some of his students obtain copies of prior semesters' tests with answers. They do very good grade wise in those classes, but they don't know the material. They don't fail their current classes, but future classes will require an understanding of what was taught - which they do not have. That is one of the times when their parroting will result in them failing.

Keep in mind that in my earlier post I stated that college is a means to an end. College is the training period that prepares the students to function in a profession. So, regardless of the grades they receive in college, if they don't understand what was taught, they won't be able to function effectively in their profession.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

There are also schools where most of the student body is on a 4 point system, but AP* courses are worth more, so for a normal class grade values would be D=1, C=2, B=3 A=4, but an AP course it's D=2, C=3, B=4, A=5.

Some schools also allow extra projects completely out side of normal course work for grade credit. Straight As in normal course work + extra credit projects = GPA above 4.0

The idea is that both AP courses and college credits are worth more because they're harder (college courses for high-school students). Though I don't believe that "D"s are worth much in AP courses, as they'll usually transfer you out long before you finish the semester. :(

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

So even with out anything that's been described on this thread, GPAs have never had more than a minimal comparative value beyond an individual school.

There have always been crappy schools, dishonest schools and sloppy schools (think Trump U). The AP system was intended, not to diminish or boost scores, but to encourage students capable of better work to get a 'leg up' on their future college classes. But again, students routinely get drummed out if they can't keep up, since they routinely misplace or have students who can't adapt. If they can't maintain a C, as the very least, they bounce back to the 'normal' class. The only AP "D" score is if someone did well the entire semester, and then skipped the final entirely.

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

Are there some classes (i.e., gym, health) that are mandatory yet do not qualify for the 5-points?

There's no such thing as an "AP" gym or "basket weaving" course. Athlete's normally take special courses where they get just enough credits to remain on the team (C average), but not to graduate with honors.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Personally, I view education as a means to an end. The end is the ability to function in a profession and in our society.

An education should never get in the way of a student's learning. (I can't remember who said that, offhand.)

Replies:   Baltimore Rogers
Crumbly Writer

@REP

They don't fail their current classes, but future classes will require an understanding of what was taught - which they do not have. That is one of the times when their parroting will result in them failing.

That's why students with Eidetic memory (i.e. 'perfect' memory), like Sheldon Cooper in "The Big Bang Theory", typically flunk out of Graduate school, but typically not most colleges. They're great at repeating details, but are useless at implementing the ideas (the results in TV shows aside).

Baltimore Rogers

@Crumbly Writer

An education should never get in the way of a student's learning. (I can't remember who said that, offhand.)


Usually rendered as "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education".

Widely attributed to Mark Twain, but this site makes a good case for Grant Allen: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/09/25/schooling-vs-education

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