Insomnia Log

This is what keeps me awake at night???

Who needs sleep? (well you’re never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep? (tell me what’s that for)
Who needs sleep? (be happy with what you’re getting,
There’s a guy who’s been awake since the second world war)

-- words and music by Steven Page & Ed Robertson

Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States

Everything you need to know about me can be found in my posts

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Who's Number One?

The Boulder Valley School Board is considering getting rid of high school class ranks. It turns out that the formula for calculating GPA counts core classes higher than electives, which means that an A in a college prep class counts more than an A in an elective. What this means is that the student taking the "more well-rounded" curriculum may pay for it in their ability to meet college entrance criteria, or in the super-competitive race for valedictorian.

I think they are dancing around the real issue here. The trouble is, it is hard to determine class rank among all the students with an A grade-point average. But why are so many students getting straight As? Don't grades mean anything any more?

Apparently not. Today, well over half the students going to college have straight A high school GPAs. This is almost double the number from when I went to school. [Exercise for the reader: When did this lunatic graduate from high school?] This is while SAT scores have fallen by an inflation-adjusted 140 points.

There is a simple solution to this problem. Start giving Cs, Ds, and Fs again. Make students work hard for that A, and even for the B. When I was in high school, I had to walk uphill in the snow to get an A, and today's students should have to do the same. [Ok, let them bring their iPods.] Students (and their parents) should not expect automatic As. The average student should get a C.

When it comes down to it, colleges don't count grades and class ranks very much in their entrance criteria anyway. They just don't mean anything. And you don't need a 4.0 average to figure that out.

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