Yay or Nay for GPA?

In one of Andrew’s recent blog posts, he explained his frustration with students who dropped the course in order to save their GPA. In this class, plenty of students have admitted to quitting a subject because of low grades: many students included in their initial blog posts that they stopped considering being a scientist once they started earning lower grades than they hoped for in science classes. Although this may be an indicator that they really aren’t natural scientists, it might also be a mistake. For instance, students could have learned more material and have been more engaged in science classes than in the classes they earned better grades in, yet focused less on earning a higher grade.

This image came from http://www.artsjournal.com/audience/2012/06/bright-idea-report-card-rewards/report-card/

This image came from http://www.artsjournal.com/audience/2012/06/bright-idea-report-card-rewards/report-card/

Unfortunately, as students, it’s difficult to ignore the reality that most schools and employers judge and select students based on their grade point average, especially with more schools becoming test optional. Because of this discouraging setup, most of the time students work towards earning high grades, rather than working in order to learn. Earning a high GPA can be a beneficial incentive that increases student’s motivation and effort, but as students, employers, and schools focus too much on them, they can easily be destructive. Test scores may not be effective way of judging students’ intelligence, but is basing judgements off of GPA really a positive alternative?

College admission officials use high schooler’s GPA and standardized test scores to predict whether or not they will be able to succeed at that college, but is GPA a more useful and accurate indicator? This article explains how GPA shows evidence of soft skills like motivation and attendance. In general, students may be too focused on their grades, but by motivating themselves to earn high grades, they develop skills that can help them succeed in college. In this study, both test scores and GPA were better predictors of college GPA, depending on the level of the first year college GPA. For example, high college grade point averages were unable to be predicted by high school GPA. College Board, although most likely biased in favor of standardized testing, reports that the best determiner of college grade point average is a combination of standardized test scores and high school GPA.

These studies don’t suffer the file drawer problem considering they’ve been published, and college admission officials at colleges everywhere are constantly trying to decide the best method to judge prospective students. The most effective methods are being updated each year, so the first article is a little outdated and therefore does not provide the most reliable information. In conclusion, neither GPA nor test scores are perfect predictors for how well a student will do in college; however, GPA can indicate student’s skills in the day to day classroom, even if it can also corrupt students’ learning and motives.

Late drop



8 thoughts on “Yay or Nay for GPA?

  1. Jeffrey Sherman

    I am not a proponent of the GPA system, as I believe it’s easily manipulated and not a great reflection of intelligence. I really liked how in Andrews’ post his main reasoning debating GPA is that it discourages students from taking big chances and potentially taking a class that could have a profound impact on your life. Students will do anything nowadays to achieve a high GPA, and it has simply retracted from the main purpose of learning; to learn, not to get good grades. However, I still do not know what the alternative to the GPA system is. If there were no grades, what would be the incentive for lazier students who care less about academic success to go to class? Or is that simply a personal decision that shouldn’t affect others? Interesting post though!

  2. Jovian Ebony Osborne-pantlitz

    GPA’s are totally overrated! I feel like they are used to pigeon hole students especially in college. Students go to college specialize in a specific career. Yet they are penalized on courses that have nothing to do with their major like “gen. eds”. Like, I thought that’s what high school was. To figure out which subjects you were good in and create your future from their. Yes, its great to expand the mind so gen. eds are important but i don’t like that students are affected by it. A students accumulative GPA and major GPA i believe should be totally separate. But when students go for job interviews the accumulative GPA is asked for. With that in mind, I don’t blame students for dropping a course that wouldn’t benefit them in the future. That is sort of the sole purpose of attending college, to create a “brighter future”.

  3. lkv5058

    Great post! In my opinion, GPA is overrated. In high school, I knew people with 4.0s that were not very intelligent. They just took easy classes, didn’t do extracurriculars, or worked extremely hard. Test scores always seemed to me to be a better indicator of students abilities. SATs and ACTs put everyone on a level playing field without subjective grading, different teachers, easier classes, extra time, or any other unfair advantages. If school was all about learning and less about grades, I think it would be more enjoyable for us all, sadly thats not the world we live in.

  4. Erin Nicole Kemp

    I think as far as classes and GPA goes its less important when the class is in your field. The focus should be on being able to apply the knowledge. But if it is a class that is not in your field is dragging down your GPA I understand how students would feel.

  5. Mansi M Patel

    Wow. This my favorite post on the blog so far. My GPA is not where I would like it be so I found this super relatable. However, I do like it is necessary in determining some factors. I really liked how you included Andrew’s post in there as well. I remember reading that and thinking, Why would people drop when we still have one blog period left? Don’t they know they still have a chance to improve their grade?

  6. Trae Vann Morgan-White

    I’ll be honest. I was really going to drop this class on first instincts. However, the one thing I’m proud of is the fact that I chose to stay in this class despite my performance in the class. I eventually took a lot of interest in the class and with my improvement grades. Grade point averages really suck in colleges compared to high schools, so that’s one thing I have to get used to! Good blog!

  7. Sean Patrick Hickey

    sadly GPA is anecessary evil for now, simply because it is used by every major college and company to judge if you are fit for the job/college. And as andrew said, until colleges are brave enough to stop using it, it will remain a necessary evil.

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