What is A GPA Really Worth?

I can’t tell you how many times I met with students because they wanted a higher mark on an assignment and thought their GPA would suffer.  Grade inflation has become one of new villains of this generation’s academic career. It’s our job as professors to explain to students that although they want to be an A-plus student, for the majority, their GPA is worthless.

When does a GAP have meaning?

The difference between a 72% and a 75% is minimal unless the assignment/exam/presentation has a heavy weight in proportion to the final course mark.

Some programs require a minimum GPA. Professors in the program are well aware of the minimum requirements. They know there is a vast difference between a C and an A student and they mark accordingly.

Students should be concerned about their GPA if they intend to continue their education after they have completed the current program.

Show ‘em what you know

Very few companies will ask for college or university transcripts. To them, a GPA is meaningless. They are much more interested in the knowledge students gain and their ability to apply the knowledge. Business is about making money, and all they are interested is how well an employee can do the job and how much they affect the bottom line.

In today’s tight job market it’s much more effective for students to have an online portfolio than a high GPA. The portfolio should include a student’s best pieces that show off writing skills, presentation skills, and problem solving skills. Most jobs require all of these skills.

Applying for a job is similar to applying at an education institution. A solid resume with applicable experience is sometimes more valuable than a GPA. Internships, volunteer work, and projects in the industry illustrate real-world experience. It also shows how much passionate a student is about their chosen field. I’d rather hire someone who’s been to school and learnt through experience than have just the theory from school.

Telling Students about the Real Value of School

Today’s generation is under enormous pressure to do well in college or university. They are hungry for As and A pluses, but in reality, how many students are truly of that caliber?

It’s up to professors to give students the reality check they need. If we don’t point out that the true value of learning is not GPA driven, then we are doing the students a disservice. I can hear some of you arguing that we give student grades and that is a numerical evaluation tool. I argue that it is only useful to students who wish to continue their education and as an immediate feedback mechanism.

Showing a student the differences between a C and an A paper is feedback that can compel students to understand mistakes and learn even more.

It’s much more important to teach students how to take the knowledge they are learning and how to apply it in their future jobs.  We, as teachers, have the reasonability to show students how to use their knowledge and be able to think beyond the confines of school and a GPA, because once they graduate, a GPA will be a distant number that they will soon forget.

This entry was posted in Assessment. Bookmark the permalink.