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Is the way GPA works fair?

logiccolorlogiccolor Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
Suppose you have two students who have just started college. We'll call them student1 and student2. Suppose student1 takes classT, classU, classV, classW, and classX. Suppose student2 takes classT, classU, classV, classW, classX, and classY. In other words, student1 and student2 have five classes together, but student2 is taking one extra class.

Suppose that student1 gets A's in classT, classU, classV, and classW, and gets a B in classX, making his GPA a 3.8. Suppose that student2 gets A's in classT, classU, classV, classW, and classX, and gets a C in classY, making his GPA a 3.67.

Now even thought student2 didn't do that great in classY, he still had to do some work and understand some stuff in order to get a C. Otherwise, he would have gotten an F. If he hadn't taken classY, his GPA would have been a 4.0 instead of a 3.67. So in other words, student2 got a lower GPA than he would have if he had done less work, which doesn't seem right to me.

Among the five class the two students took together, student2 got a better GPA than student1. That means that student2, on average, understands the material better than student1 among the classes they took together. In addition, student2 understands some of the material in classY, whereas student1 doesn't understand any of the material in classY, since he didn't take the class. There wasn't a single class in which student1 demonstrated a better understanding than student2, but there are 2 classes in which student2 demonstrated a better understanding than student1, and yet, student1 has a higher GPA. This just doesn't seem fair to me.

Replies to: Is the way GPA works fair?

  • college_querycollege_query Registered User Posts: 4,438 Senior Member
    Student2 earned more credit hours than Student1. If this is college, Student2 is hopefully one class closer to earning a degree than Student1.

    Neither student should take more classes/credit hours than they can handle. If a student takes 6 classes instead of 5, they will have less time to devote to each class.

    Also, in your hypothetical situation, it could be ClassY is a class Student2 wouldn't do as well in, regardless of how many other classes s/he was taking at the same time.
  • blossomblossom Registered User Posts: 9,259 Senior Member
    Nothing is fair. Take a look at your bill from your town for property taxes- your neighbor has granite countertops and the latest stainless steel appliances, and you are repairing your worn down kitchen stuff constantly. Yet you are both paying the same taxes on your basic three bedroom/two bath house with a detached garage on a quarter acre.

    That's just how the system works. When your house is appraised there is a computer model which spits out the answer. Same as GPA. The student taking an extra class should drop that class if he/she finds the calculation bothersome.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 10,182 Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    I would try not to think about grades and focus on how much is being learned, about competencies gained, that kind of thing. Grades are a means not an end.

  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 40,251 Super Moderator
    This just doesn't seem fair to me.
    To quote Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest: "Ah, but nobody ever said life was fair, Tina."
  • Data10Data10 Registered User Posts: 2,640 Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    Take a look at your bill from your town for property taxes- your neighbor has granite countertops and the latest stainless steel appliances, and you are repairing your worn down kitchen stuff constantly. Yet you are both paying the same taxes on your basic three bedroom/two bath house with a detached garage on a quarter acre.

    That's just how the system works. When your house is appraised there is a computer model which spits out the answer.
    I take it you don't live in CA. In CA property taxes are based on ~1% of purchase price, with slight increases over time that are generally below inflation, so the differences can be really extreme between persons who have lived in the area for decades and new buyers. I've seen houses that have Zilllow/Redfin appraisals for millions, with only a few hundred in property tax.

    Regarding GPA fairness, the holistic colleges that get most discussed on this site view the full transcript and consider the GPA in the context of what courses were taken. The kid who always avoids the challenging/rigorous classes likely isn't going to do well in highly selective college acceptances, even if he does have a 4.0 GPA.
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