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Re: [Phys-l] AP on GPA (the other AP)

JDenker writes:

However ...
-- At another level, this makes a deeper point about competitiveness.
Class rank (at a particular school) is insensitive to what we usually
call grade inflation. That is, even if there were "more" grade
or "less" grade inflation, this kid's class rank would still be in the
middle of the herd.

I would agree with you on the independence of class rank on grade
inflation, except for the fact that GPAs are calculated from each
student's letter grades in each course. Even when schools differentiate
by + and -, the coarseness of this scale, coupled with the grades bumping
up against the top of the scale, means that a stray + or - here or there
can engender a big effect in class rank. In many cases, we're talking
about cumulative GPA differences one to two orders of magnitude smaller
than the step size between the grades used to compute them. No wonder the
kids are always grubbing for an extra point here and there!

Class rank inflation ... now that's a scary thought. OTOH there are,
of course, ways to detect and correct for this sort of thing.

I suppose that my HS (a statewide science + math magnet) would have to be
said to be guilty of this - everyone was reported to be (I believe...) no
lower than the top 10%; the theory was that everyone would have been in
the top 10% at their home high schools.

Josh Gates
Stoneleigh-Burnham School
Greenfield MA