Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Pathetic Effects of the G.P.A. Lie

A fifteen-year-old girl and her parents came into a school to be evaluated for admission. The girl dressed casually in tight jeans and a halter top. She kept her head at an angle that made reluctant eye contact with the administrator.

The parents announced unconvincingly that their daughter was an excellent student with a 3.8 GPA. The parents acted nervous as if they did not believe whet they were saying. They were asked to return after two hours when their daughter would finish with the testing.

The student went to the classroom where the testing was to begin. Her lack of enthusiasm bordered on an appearance of depression. After fifteen minutes she indicated to the teacher that these grade level tests were too difficult for her to continue. She said she was a bad test taker and the teacher told her to just do her best and not to worry.

The testing indicated she was three years below the ninth grade academic level. The girl knew she was living a lie. Her inflated grade point average was a hoax perpetuated by everyone connected with her school.

However, no one at the school will be held accountable for the deceit. The casualty in this swindle is ultimately the teenage girl. She was not only socially promoted but she was given high, unearned grades to feed unrealistic expectations of being prepared to be successful in college. Too many innately bright students are in the same predicament. They are being cheated of their youth and worse, their future.

She was aware on some level that she did not earn her elevated grades. In this affluent era it is difficult to persuade students that lack of knowledge and skills will affect them. This erroneous idea is understandable from the student’s perspective since most students have not been given consequences for displaying bad habits. School and homework assignments are often not marked which devaluates any student effort. Plagiarizing from professional sources and copying other student’s tests are just ignored. They are allowed to develop bad habits taking short cuts to “just get by.”

This scenario is happening all over the country with disastrous results in the education of our young people.

In our modern society there will be other chances for these betrayed students to correct their deficiencies. They will have other chances with remedial courses in college although if they did it right the first time it would be much easier and their future much brighter.

In order to prevent this travesty from happening to your child or grandchild the following steps should be taken.

  1. Train your child to be honest, independent and do quality work.

  2. Ask your child everyday what he has learned at home and at school instilling the values and love of knowledge.

  3. Do not do your child’s homework .

  4. Monitor your child’s completion of all assignments in the home and school.

  5. Ask your child general information questions in areas studied in school.

  6. Set high standards and expectations for home and for school.

  7. Trust your intuition concerning your child’s academic performance.

  8. Demand from the school an honest evaluation of your child in all areas.

By parents being proactive at home and at school, children will not be able to fall between the cracks. As the child matures mentally and physically our expectations for their abilities in all areas should elevate too. These higher standards help challenge them to reach higher and higher goals.

Living a “Grade Point Average Lie” takes many accomplices: the parents, the school and the child. It takes only one responsible person to pull the plug on these charades although the person will probably not be appreciated for their accurate assessments.

Beware the messenger may receive a certain amount of punishment although the rewards will far outweigh the negative. The good Samaritan will know he has awakened a depressed teenager giving her an opportunity to rejuvenate her enthusiasm for addressing her deficiencies before it is too late. This is a gift worth giving.



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