Tuesday, December 14, 2004

AP Mayhem

The NY Sun reports that a "change added 10% to all AP grades going back to when [NYC] seniors first entered high school. The grade recorded for a student who earned 85% in AP American History last year has now been changed to 93.5%. A student who earned 92% is boosted into the grading stratosphere, with 101.2%. Students who took AP classes now have a distinct advantage, in terms of grade point average, over those who did not."

Not surprisingly, much flipping-out is occurring guess where:

Stuyvesant's principal, Stanley Teitel, didn't return a phone call or email requesting comment, but students and parents from the school said the new policy has created college-application mayhem.

The school sent out three GPAs for each student in the early admissions round: an old-fashioned unweighted GPA, a GPA with the new 10% AP bonus, and yet another that actually penalizes students who took AP classes but did poorly. The third method multiplies each AP grade by 110% but adds 10% to the number of courses taken...

The head of Stuyvesant's parent association, Linda Lam, said "parents went crazy" when they heard transcripts had been retroactively altered.

Ah yes, a brilliant idea on the part of the Stuyvesant administration. When I was a senior, there were two college counselors trying to send out transcripts on behalf of over 700 seniors, to about seven colleges per student. The amount of paperwork (and, with it, potential mess) has just tripled. Not to mention that any policy which makes it unclear precisely where each student stands, to the hundredths' place, is bound to cause, as the Sun understatedly puts it, "mayhem." Many Stuy kids defined themselves on the basis of knowing they were 0.04 above Classmate A but 1.07 below Classmate B. Now no such rigid hierarchy can exist--it's like if a normal high school all of a sudden decided to have three separate football teams and cheerleading squads, thus tripling the number of "cool" kids and forcing students to scramble for new status signifiers.


Anonymous said...

i heard about this too--yet another reason for stuyvesant students to lose sleep. the real question is, how will they choose the valedictorian?

do you remember how we wanted to make t-shirts with our averages printed on the back so we wouldn't have ever have to hear that question again?


Anonymous said...

Perhaps some will begin to question just how relevant GPAs (to the second decimal place) are to real learning. And then the relevance of one's income to his/ her value to society. Heaven forbid. --JM