Gut Rumbles

July 13, 2004

4.6 GPA

I received a totally illiterate email from someone who claimed to have a "4.6 (GPA) in school." Man, that's really high. The best you could EVER do when I was in school was a 4.0. That meant straight "A" grades in every class.

I was a jockstrap and not really focused on subjects that I didn't like in high school. I graduated with a 2.9 GPA. Trigonometry really sunk me. I almost failed that course. I liked words and reading. I didn't like or understand math. I did well in courses that I enjoyed and bombed those that I didn't.

I made 1166 on my college board exam the first time I took it, and I was as hung-over as a drunken sailor that morning. Some friends and I utilized a fake ID to purchase demon rum and we drank most of the night before the test. That wasn't the best planning I ever did in my life, but my score was high enough to get me into the schools I was interested in attending. I sorta figured that Harvard was out of the question.

I was graduated from college with a 3.01 GPA, just low enough to keep me from having an honors degree, and economics plus biology did that to me. I hated both courses and scraped by with a fucking "D" in both of them. I then took the GRE exam (sober), scored over 1400 on it and went to graduate school, where I had a 3.8 GPA. I didn't have to take courses I didn't like (except for Sociology-- which I aced--- it's a bullshit "science") in grad school.

I don't understand this 4.6 GPA bullshit. In my day, things were simple. A=4. B=3. C=2. D=1. F=0. How do you make a fucking 4.6?

I'll tell you how that happened. Most teachers can't teach, most students won't learn and the stats were looking really bad. So, they changed the benchmarks to make everybody LOOK better. Nothing changed with the teaching and the learning, but the numbers sure shot up. 4.6, my aching ass.

I read recently that we're going to be blessed with a more "fair" test for the SAT. Maybe somebody can score 2000 out of 1600 on that one.


Glad you performed so well in grad school, but I have to got to wonder about the GRE score--I scored over 1400 on just two sections. And there is a third section to boot. So maybe you aren't as smart as you think you are.

Posted by: Frank the Tank on July 13, 2004 01:15 PM

A quick search for "five point grading scale" yielded several hits.

Posted by: shelley on July 13, 2004 01:17 PM

Frank, you lie.

Posted by: Acidman on July 13, 2004 01:43 PM

It's been about 12 years and I've killed a few brain cells since then, but wasn't that third GRE section a "beta" of a section that they would be giving in the future which didn't count in your score?

Or have I killed too many brain cells since then?

Posted by: Aubrey Turner on July 13, 2004 02:35 PM

A 4.6 on a 5.0 scale would be a grade of 93.2%. The same % grade on a 4.0 point scale would be a bit over 3.7 (3.728 to be exact). On a 3.0 scale, a 93.2% grade would be 2.796.

Grades are grades. I agree with you Rob, changing the scale doesn't make up for shortcomings in the classroom! Unfortunately, a good percentage of our Society no longer understands or cares!

Posted by: Bob on July 13, 2004 02:38 PM

In my high school (small rural TN town), we had the basic 4.0 scale for students on the vocational path (standard courses), and a 5.0 scale for students on the college-prep path (honors courses).

I ended up with a 4.22 (without even trying hard except in algebra) and 7th in my class , so I don't really understand how we were being rewarded. Colleges just put that back on a 4.0 scale and look at it like that, so what's the big deal?

I suspect it was to keep the "standard" students (what they were called) from making straight A's and being a valedictorian over an honor student. This honestly wouldn't have suprised me with that school.

Don't get me wrong, I'm someone that actually thinks their high school classes weren't as "dumbed down" as others.

Of course, we didn't have "Honors History" so we all had to take standard. That's where you find the very mediocre teaching, from the SAME teacher who teaches honors.

That was the real key. Teachers would push the honors students, but would let the "standards" coast by. That honestly just made me sick.

I'd like to become a teacher just to try to offset that.

Posted by: Michelle on July 13, 2004 02:50 PM

Sorry Acidman, no lying: the GRE has analytical, verbal, and math sections. I got 700+ on the first two, and mid 600s on the third. But that was in 1999.

Posted by: Frank the Tank on July 13, 2004 03:37 PM

This will confuse everybody even more, at my son's school the honors/gifted & talented / advanced placement classes are all on a 6.0 scale.

Posted by: Cerberus on July 13, 2004 04:11 PM

I took the GRE in 1974 and I took ONLY the part in English literature. ONE test. ONE grade. I made 1435 out of a possible 1600.

Maybe I'm SMARTER than I think I am.

Posted by: Acidman on July 13, 2004 07:47 PM

By by the way... we ARE talking about the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), aren't we? That's the one you take to qualify for graduate school AFTER you earn a college degree. The test is based on your major.

Why would you be taking a THREE PART TEST in other subjects for graduate school, Frank? You must be either really confused or one smart sumbitch.

Posted by: Acidman on July 13, 2004 07:52 PM

There's a general exam with 3 parts and there are also exams for different subject areas. Different schools require different combinations of these. No idea what year they started the general test but that's probably easy enough to google.

I didn't apply anywhere I needed the English Lit exam for because I came out of a weak BA program and I would have gotten creamed on it. Did nicely on the general, though.

Posted by: Deb on July 13, 2004 08:21 PM

When you read the rest of the comment that accompanies the 4.6 it's easy to figger, you add yer grades together to get 4.6. you ain't trickin' me, mita been born at nite.........twasn't last nite

Posted by: david on July 14, 2004 08:49 AM

Yeah we are talking about the same GRE; for my grad program in national security studies, the general three-part exam was required. And the parts were generic, not linked to your major.

Posted by: Frank the Tank on July 14, 2004 09:25 AM


It's all part of a system that now produces
10-12 "valedictorians" @ a high school graduation. Every class should have but ONE, just like we did....the brainiac who screwed up the grading curve for every class he/she ever took!

Rather than kick kids in the ass & make them want to please their teachers/parents by actually trying hard, the system now seeks merely to avoid hurting any child's self-esteem. Ergo, grade inflation that creates a hugely distorted view of the world to come.

Posted by: Hap Arnold on July 14, 2004 12:01 PM

PS: My blood pressure & cholesterol readings are now higher than my long-ago SAT scores....

Posted by: Hap Arnold on July 14, 2004 12:06 PM

When I took the GRE in 1975, the two parts were verbal and quantitative, each worth maximum 800 points. I had the top combined score (1490) ever achieved at that school up to that time. Wouldn't ya know it, some lit major aced the verbal, so they put his pic in the paper.

Also took GRE in 1960 as a Second Classman (Junior) at the USAF Academy. No recollection of my score, but my class placed third in the nation, behind MIT and Stanford SENIORS. That was back in the days before cheating and rape scandals.

Posted by: Larry on July 15, 2004 12:12 PM

The General GREs currently have three parts (I know this because I took them last month): Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytic Writing.

Some schools require a subject GRE as well, which just has one part (Psychology, Math, Biology, etc.)

And as for the 4.6 GPA - My high school gave a +.5 to any grade from an honors or advanced class. That made it possible for students to take harder classes without zapping their GPA and in some cases score higher than 4.0.

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