What is more important?  Your high school GPA or a standardized test?  Anyone who has been through a public school can probably tell you that grades are fairly subjective.  History teacher X routinely gives out A’s to anyone who simply comes to class every day and participates in discussion while History teacher Y assigns essay questions on every test and usually ends up with a bell curve on test scores.  Is there any kind of subjectivity in the standardized test?  No.  Somehow, the high school GPA which can literally be affected by a teacher’s mood (I think I’ll round up Johnny’s B+ to an A, he’s worked pretty hard) is more important to colleges.

Why do I say that?  Because I’ve been looking at several colleges and what they say is important to get accepted.  Many will quote something like a 3.5 GPA will be good, but they will accept ACT/SAT scores which are much lower than that.  Do colleges place little value on these tests?  Why do we use them, then?  Doesn’t this seem like a discrepancy?

I bring this up because I have a solution.  Several staff in my school (not me) went to a workshop recently that talked about a new kind of grading system.  This system would have grades based solely on knowledge and ability.  Jane wouldn’t lose points for handing in her work late; that doesn’t show her math ability, it shows her work ethic.  So, there would be another category on the report card:  Work Ethics.  This way, future employers and colleges could look and see that Frank got a 4.0 on his GPA, but scored a 1.2 on Work Ethic because he only bothered to do anything on test days.  Frannnie, on the other hand, only has a 3.4 GPA, but she has a 3.9 on her Work Ethic.

Who would you rather recruit?

I am the language lover and these are my thoughts.



  1. Jay Burns said,

    April 29, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Would work tardiness be the only deduction in the work ethic catagory or would it fall in to the same subjectivity of the individual teacher. Overall I think this is a great idea.

  2. Burst said,

    April 29, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    I love this system. I know tons of kids who have near “A’s” but barly do work. This will be fairer to the hard workers in the school.

  3. April 29, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    I think, and I don’t really know for sure, that the other categories would fall under a “Character Counts” kind of system, so there would be more than just Work Ethics and several things would count on that. I think a rubric of some sort would be in place, but this sort of grading would obviously be subject to the whims of the teacher.

    Not perfect, but maybe getting closer?

  4. Mike Lovell said,

    May 19, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    The idea seems okay. But do you check the work ethic not only on testing participation, turning in the work whenever as long as its good. Say in math, we used to have to SHOW our work besides the answer to get full credit, would that be worked into the grading?
    And I don’t know if you can subject a school age kid’s work ethic when it comes to future employment. I had horrible work ethic when it came to homework, but I graduated with honors. In my jobs, I always pushed to work as hard or harder than my coworkers. So the correlation might not always be applicable. Just my thoughts

  5. Godfather said,

    June 5, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Tough call. I think when they “weight” the grades I think that is a step in the right direction.

    That is not to imply you grade on a curve (that just leads to someone being the Captain of the ship of Fools). But, if you are to go off GPA, then you need to look at what classes were taken. Some people can skate by with a 3.5 only to have “easy” classes. Versus others that take hard classes and end up with a 3.0. Weighting allows for the harder classes to count as more.

    The “test” certainly is a benchmark of what has been learned – but not necessarily learning potential.

  6. June 19, 2008 at 4:59 am

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Photolithography.

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