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Moral hazard concerning GPAs

questionnairequestionnaire 15 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
http://www.browndailyherald.com/2009/03/06/no-gpas-at-brown/

Would you say the behavior discussed here is symptomatic of a moral hazard that the lack of an official GPA makes possible, or the justified liberty provided by the more progressive and true-to-educational-philosophy nature of the Brown curriculum?

For instance, I know that while the school officially announced through official documents (such as the Brown Grading Policy) that they do not endorse a GPA, the law school advising page and the biomed graduate school admissions advice page both provide guidelines for calculating GPAs where applicable -- such as the 4.0 A, 3.0 B, 2.0 C, and 0.0 for anything below. However the article above suggests that these are only guidelines which students have no obligation whatsoever to follow in applying to jobs or graduate schools.

I think for people who have low grades, this gives them a sort of wiggling room. In general if this low performance was due to experimenting and innovative exploration, then I think this wiggling room is well-deserved and will even result in more innovative and creative people in the workforce. However, one could wonder whether this distinctive feature is a sort of cheating, where the advantage of the blind GPA is poorly deserved even if you take into account the fact that students could learn more from the open curriculum by taking risks?
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Replies to: Moral hazard concerning GPAs

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78223 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Law schools and medical schools each have official methods of calculating application GPA for their purposes, so it is not like students can make up their GPAs any way they want for those purposes.
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  • questionnairequestionnaire 15 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    What about for jobs and business school admissions?
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  • Emsmom1Emsmom1 1003 replies77 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Anything below a C doesn't show up on the official transcript that the students at Brown send to law or med schools. It's on the internal transcript but not the transcript students send.
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  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown 8239 replies73 threadsForum Champion Brown Forum Champion
    edited September 2017
    I've literally never heard of anyone doing anything other than A = 4, B = 3, C = 2. Pretty sure you are creating a scenario that doesn't exist. All the "no GPA" thing means is that on your transcript there is just a list of courses with A, B or C next to them and no GPA at the bottom.
    edited September 2017
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  • questionnairequestionnaire 15 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    The link I provided on the original post says that the alumnus did not put anything where he should have put his GPA.
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  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown 8239 replies73 threadsForum Champion Brown Forum Champion
    edited September 2017
    That's entirely different from putting a fake GPA by using one's own guidelines.

    You are also referencing a graduate of the class of 1988 aka someone who graduated 30 years ago. I myself even wrote about a graduate of the 70s who took ALL his classes S/NC and is now a physician. That would almost certainly be impossible now (outside PLME) and the school very much advises against it.

    Whether or not Brown "calculates GPA" the fact is the transcript has As, Bs, and Cs, on it and all classes have the same credit weight. Doesn't take much for an employer to look over the transcript and estimate a GPA or even calculate it outright.
    edited September 2017
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  • questionnairequestionnaire 15 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    But would it be legally reprehensible for someone to put anything in the ballpark of what the transcript says, given the fact that there is no official reference for the GPA?
    I'm saying that the system allows someone to do such a thing and get away with it.
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  • questionnairequestionnaire 15 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    This can be problematic in cases where the transcript and other supporting documents is asked after someone is hired, not in the initial CV screening process.
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  • questionnairequestionnaire 15 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    In other words the lack of the exact number can influence who gets the interview and who doesn't which I think is related to the GPA.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34087 replies376 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    What moral hazard unique to Brown ? In theory, anyone can fudge a gpa. The issue is will you get away with it?

    Increasingly, today, no.

    You think you get an interview solely on gpa? That experience, training and related skills play second fiddle?

    Since you seem to be on campus, why not ask the career support folks for guidance?

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  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown 8239 replies73 threadsForum Champion Brown Forum Champion
    A=4, B=3, C=2. There is no other calculation "allowed," nor have I ever heard anyone suggest calculating one's GPA at Brown in any other fashion.
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  • questionnairequestionnaire 15 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'm talking about cases where you choose to not calculate.
    Besides, the fact that A=4, B=3, C=2 is not "official" means that even though that method may be conventional you are by no means legally bound to use that method.
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  • questionnairequestionnaire 15 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    After all, isn't documentation and legislation necessary to oblige someone to follow a rubric originally meant only for law school admissions(A=4, B=3, C=2)?
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  • questionnairequestionnaire 15 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    To quote the CCC, it says "Students and others may
    sometimes make their own calculations from transcript records, but such calculations in
    no way reflect an official university statistic."

    Nowhere does it say it is illegal to make your own calculations. After all, A=4, B=3, C=2 is already a form of self-calculation which the university does not endorse, since it endorses no GPA.
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  • questionnairequestionnaire 15 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Also, if you take into account the fact that no other school(at least amon leaves out Fs in GPA calculation, the A=4 or whatever rubric is already void and is an unfair advantage. Who's to do the regulating on this?


    I'm still confused if the A=4, B=3, C=2 is conventional enough to be the norm or even the rule, why the university does not officially declare this to be the case. In any case, thank you for your responses. I now have a clearer idea on calculating my GPA.
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  • akmom124akmom124 481 replies7 threadsRegistered User Member
    Just curious as to how the S's are calculated? I'm assuming they're not calculated in at all so as to not affect the GPA at all?
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34087 replies376 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    What's the point, OP? How much do you want to argue this? Why?

    The college doesn't endorse. That's far from offering carte blanche to make up your own gpa and pretend it's fact. Yes, the 4 point scale is conventional and accepted. You think kids could arbitrarily give themselves a 6 pt scale? Or go ahead and call themselves A students when they aren't? That's not clear thinking, much less, defensible.

    The end point is what employers or grad school expect. Use that basis. If you want to convolute, do it at your own risk. (That expression, dumb is as dumb does. )

    If this is all just too hard to do right, ask the career folks to help. Get it done. There's only so much wide eyed shoulder shrugging that can be tolerated.
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  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown 8239 replies73 threadsForum Champion Brown Forum Champion
    edited September 2017
    why the university does not officially declare this to be the case
    For the same reason Brown doesn't have +s or -s. It runs counter to the new curriculum's goals of academic exploration and pursuit of knowledge. A transcript is supposed to represent a record of the things you have learned and how well you have learned them. That's why it's a list of courses with grades next to them and why NCs don't appear (that course's material is obviously something you haven't learned). A GPA does not tell you that. It is just a number.

    Just as you're so concerned about what "legal" imperative there is for a Brown student to not just make up their own GPA, what is the "legal" imperative for a school to not offer a course called "Enrolled at our school" that's worth 100000000000000000 credits and give everyone As? This would put essentially every student's GPA at 4.0 on the transcript no matter what they got in their other courses which, if someone is going of GPA alone, would make these students on paper look more competitive than other students. There are still colleges that require PE courses and put them into the GPA on the transcript - why on earth would an employer or graduate school care about the grade for those? What if I only care about your GPA for a specific department? What if I don't want to factor in the transfer credits from another school? What if, what if, what if - the possibilities are endless.

    So Brown decided that they're just going to give you a list of courses and grades and interpretation is in the eye of the beholder. The A=4, B=3, C=2 system is so widely used, that when someone wants a GPA, that's 99.99999999999% of the time what a Brown student is going to use to calculate their GPA for whoever is asking for it.

    There's an awful lot of concern in your post over legality. I don't see much concern for morals or ethics.

    @akmom124 for medical school at least (and I assume many other places), S is 0/0. It plays no role in GPA calculations.

    edited September 2017
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  • fireandrainfireandrain 4685 replies54 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    This is truly one of the most absurd threads I've seen on this forum.

    You don't fudge when you calculate your GPA just like you shouldn't lie about anything on your application. If you have no morals, you can lie about anything you want. If you get caught, your acceptance will be rescinded.

    The fact that you see a "moral hazard"with this says more about your ethics than Brown's policy.
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