Originally Posted by sjt78 No. I think most colleges include a minus grade as well (A-, B-, C-...). So an A- is worth less than an A, but more than a B+/B. I went to a small catholic college where we didn't have minus grades, but we did have plus grades. This was a great system as the professor would really need to consider the grade he/she gave as it mad a big difference in the GPA. So an A=4.0, B+=3.5, B=3.0, C+=2.5, etc. But I do believe most schools use the minus in their grading and it actually stands for something. It sucks that you can get B+'s and they only count for a 3.0. Sorry.
We do the same way here at U of Wisc. except they are A,AB,B,BC,C, etc. But same gpa's and stuff. The class right after mine in HS was graded with pluses and minuses. I don't really think it mattered to much though for college admissions because most colleges recalculate your GPA anyways(or at least all the ones I applied to did). I really don't like the + and - system though because it does hurt people who take harder classes. Someone could breeze through a easy class witha B+ while someone could take a hard class and get a B-. Thats unfair, but thankfully, many teachers recognize this and grade their hard classes accordingly(where good grades are given even though percentages might not agree). I think that I would accept the + and - system if they also instituted a system where extra was given for hard classes. I know that at some schools they grade AP classes with A as a 5.0. I wish that they had done this at my school. I really don't care all that much any more that I wasn't valedictorian, but I had a 4.0 in HS and some college courses I had AB's in were averaged in as 3.5's. This gave me a 3.9... and cost me the spot. Like I said, I really don't care about being valedictorian, but at our school all the valedictorians get scholarships. I think it cost me around 5000 bucks or more. That I do care about. IMO sucks that some kid who took slacker classes and got a 4.0 gets a scholarship when I took all the hardest possible classes and go no scholarship money at all.
In Cornell and a few other colleges, grade is determined by class distribution, so theoretically it is possible to get a C with a grade of 95 if 60% or so of the class got 96 or higher out of 100. That's why to prevent this situation from happening professors tend to make exams harder. But you get the point. You compete with the rest of the students in the class, not with 90A 80B 70C cutoff lines. This is one of the reasons that cause people to suffer from pressure so people commit suicide at Cornell each year.
Georgia Tech did not use the +/- system. The +/- system would be great if there were an A+. Otherwise, it would have done my GPA more harm than good. I think awarding an A+ to the top 5% of a class is reasonable.
Many classes were graded on a curve. I preferred this because professors could make tests hard enough to reasonably distinguish students - avoiding situations where most of the class gets an A and hence keeping grade inflation in check.
While I was at Harvard Law School, the admin considered using a pass/fail system for first year grades, like Yale Law does. But the students absolutely protested. How else would the law firms distinguish between the winners and the losers?
Heh, also, we all carried little toy sharks at graduation. Wouldn't want to get mistaken for a School of Government goody-two-shoes at the whole University commencement.
Honestly, I wonder why grade inflation bothers so many people. Employers, grad schools, they know what's going on and adjust accordingly. I've always taken the view that an A means you're at the top of your class, A- means you've distinguished yourself enough, anything in the B range just designates where you are on the average scale, C means you really scraped along at the bottom of your class, and any lower means you tried to fail.
What really screws the system up is for the few (are there any?) where there isn't grade inflation.
My school has an A, A-, B+, B-,...,F system. A lot of where you fall depends on the professor, in my experience. 90-93 seems to be the cut for A-, if that says anything.
Originally Posted by jjcha Honestly, I wonder why grade inflation bothers so many people. Employers, grad schools, they know what's going on and adjust accordingly. I've always taken the view that an A means you're at the top of your class, A- means you've distinguished yourself enough, anything in the B range just designates where you are on the average scale, C means you really scraped along at the bottom of your class, and any lower means you tried to fail.
This has been my experience. My second-year Latin professor certainly subscribed to this view.
As long as you manage to keep an "above average" average (usually a B) you'll be fine. This is especially true in a science field. The few times you would possibly need more than that in a science related field is if you plan on getting into a top 5 graduate program, which you would only need to do if you want to work for a think tank or Google
As long as you hold a degree and did reasonably well the most important thing in getting a job will be interviewing skills and networking (knowing the right people). I've actually known people to not want to even interview someone because they had a 4.0 in a CS or Math program. The argument was it shows they are not as social as someone who did well but not perfect.
This might be different for the more art related fields. I know for someone like my wife who is a teacher grades are far more important. Although the interviewing and networking skills are still HUGE.
Originally Posted by jjcha Honestly, I wonder why grade inflation bothers so many people.
I used to as well, however after finishing my engineering degree at a school with "under-inflated" grading, I found it can be difficult to distinguish yourself when applying at larger companies that have arbitrary GPA cutoffs for hiring.
I truly wish there were a better way to measure ones competency than with a two-digit number that carries different weights for each school. With only 15-20% of our EE's graduating, there is often only one 4.0 student in the bunch. The average GPA is somewhere around a 2.7, far below that of most programs, yet I don't believe this is on account of the students. I've taken Sr. ENGR classes at other major schools, and averaged about 1.4 points higher than my GPA. That is telling.
To contrast, 91% of the 2001 graduates of Harvard University graduated with honors. I'm sure they all worked very hard, but I always thought honors was intended to highlight the exceptional individuals.
I don't mean to by whiny, but I suppose I feel a little disenfranchised when I see slackers at other schools getting the good job positions, while I have to work yet even harder to "catch up".
Originally Posted by dan1son I've actually known people to not want to even interview someone because they had a 4.0 in a CS or Math program.
I have heard this from quite a few people actually. I thought it was quite suprising at first, but it turns out that most companies arn't always looking for GPA #1. Especially in engineering. At least thats what people tell me