An Open Letter to College Admissions Committees
Andrew F. Knight, Fairfax Times, 23 March 2012 (hat tip: MR)
He then goes on to show the many many ways that students get good grades without actually knowing anything about the subject matter, or learning very much at all.At one time, I suppose, grades might have been an objective and reasonably accurate measure of competence in a given subject. Not anymore. Today, they primarily measure how well a student can game the system. It is quite easy for savvy high school students to pass a course, and in some cases even to receive an A or B, without actually knowing or understanding any of the course content. Here’s how:
This all has very much the air of the battles that go on in New York City over getting your children into the preschool that is on the Harvard-track.
What is ironic is that there is a big push on to not pay attention to standardized admissions tests because they are not good predictors of college success. That is likely true, but they do have the advantage that they force the student to get a clue about at least some subject matter.
I suspect that high school grades are a good indicator of college success in so far as they are a good predictor of a students ability to game their way through college without actually learning anything either.