Home > Grad School > 2.7 and 1420. What are your numbers?

2.7 and 1420. What are your numbers?

Success is not a measure of grades, it’s a measure of how much you learned. I heard this today, but could not help to think of the hypocrisy in the system.

Sure, we can say that if someone got an A, they may have learned all there was to learn in the course. The opposite may be true for someone who failed. However, there are many cases where it’s possible that grades are absolutely no indication of intellectual ability or if someone learned from a particular class.

When you apply to college, and definitely any graduate or professional school, you are essentially numbers. Of course there are few exceptions where those with perfect grades and GRE/MCAT/LSAT/etc scores don’t get in and those with blemishes on their record get admitted. On average, numbers determine your eligibility for a particular program. Beginning to see the hypocrisy?

In order to save time, schools that receive thousands of applications every year pre-screen your application using just your numbers. They will then proceed to read the personal statements and profiles of those who passed the pre-screen. I don’t mean to criticize the current system of admissions, because I believe what they do generally works. But this system makes students (particularly those striving to go to graduate school) seek grades rather than learn, which can be detrimental to their learning in many ways.

Many students choose to memorize facts rather than learn concepts. Many classes may unknowingly promote cramming for tests rather than learn relevant material throughout the semester. The creation of the scantron test also allows for students to share the previous year’s test as most questions will be an exact replica. Multiple choice tests have become the norm as teachers seek to save time. This has also created what I call the educated guessing game. In SAT courses, they teach you to make educated guesses rather than actually teach reading comprehension and real world math. Being a better test taker does not mean you learned more.

Even if I spend months on my personal statement, it may never be seen by an admissions committee. I strongly believe that the things people learn through experience trump the things you can learn through memorization. Students need to apply their knowledge in real world applications to understand concepts they learn in class.

If only there was a way to implement a “learning scale” to replace the current grading scale.

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