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IHE: W. Oregon does away with "D" and "F" grades

Started by Wahoo Redux, January 25, 2024, 10:45:45 AM

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apl68

Whether or not grades work as a means to an end, they certainly are treated as ends in themselves far too often.  Yesterday I heard our local high school guidance counselor speak of parents of freshmen demanding to know their class rank almost from the very start.  Evidently there's some rather silly rivalry or one-upmanship going on.  Maybe they're that afraid of losing their chance at getting into a good college?

Also, he spoke of students with B averages who decided at the beginning of their senior year that they now felt motivated to try to become honors students.  Unfortunately that's determined by cumulative GPA, so their performance in previous years has foreclosed on that option (Reminds me a bit of the response of a member of Charlie Brown's team to giving up forty runs in the first inning:  "There goes our shutout!").  A focus on cumulative GPA would probably greatly discourage a senior in that situation, even though the student could still potentially do much to improve in performance in that senior year.
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Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
For how does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?

marshwiggle

Quote from: apl68 on January 26, 2024, 07:44:01 AMWhether or not grades work as a means to an end, they certainly are treated as ends in themselves far too often.  Yesterday I heard our local high school guidance counselor speak of parents of freshmen demanding to know their class rank almost from the very start.  Evidently there's some rather silly rivalry or one-upmanship going on.  Maybe they're that afraid of losing their chance at getting into a good college?

Also, he spoke of students with B averages who decided at the beginning of their senior year that they now felt motivated to try to become honors students.  Unfortunately that's determined by cumulative GPA, so their performance in previous years has foreclosed on that option (Reminds me a bit of the response of a member of Charlie Brown's team to giving up forty runs in the first inning:  "There goes our shutout!").  A focus on cumulative GPA would probably greatly discourage a senior in that situation, even though the student could still potentially do much to improve in performance in that senior year.

But of course the whole reason for cumulative GPA is to let students know up front that they can't just blow things off for a few years and then make it all up in one spectacular effort. If it's *possible to do that, then the requirements for the final year are way too low.

(*for anyone other than an exceptional student)

It takes so little to be above average.

bio-nonymous

What bothers me about this is that there is no recompense for students who took classes earlier (years ago) to go back and switch any D's or F's to NC's. Thus, potential exists that a student with a single D or F in their freshman year a few years ago CANNOT get into medical school or DPT school (or whatever), whereas a newer student who got an "NC" would be able to, potentially, because the "F" (converted to "NC") didn't effect their GPA. All programs would have to agree to count all D's or F's as NC's, and I don't see that becoming common.

Also, in many programs getting below a "C" in anything is sometimes a death toll for admissions regardless of other aspects of the application. This puts a heavy grade inflation aspect for marginal students (with a few "NC's") who might not succeed in a rigorous grad program (upregulated GPA not-withstanding). Therefore, NC becomes the new "D' or "F" triggering special review of applications--BUT we can no longer tell just how bad the student did (was it a D or an F?)!

Hibush

For a lot of non-selective state schools, a big part of the mission is to educate students who have not yet proven that they can succeed in college. Some of them will, so the state provides a scholarship to all but pulls it if it turns out they can't handle it. Seems like good policy.

The challenge is exactly what mythbuster describes. The earnest ones who nevertheless take until sophmore year to get colleging figured out end up having no scholarship, and can't afford to continue. That's a bad biproduct of an otherwise good social policy. Professors in first-year courses are likely the best at identifying the marginal students who nevertheless have potential, and can give them a little boost into a funded sophomore year. It is really rather elegant!