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Subject:

No subject given

From:

Jennifer Lynn Tinsley <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 7 Jan 1998 16:46:04 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (75 lines)

     "Only 3 of 46 studies reviewed in 1971 showed a significant
     relationship between GPA and performance; half the studies showed no
     correlation whatsoever."

     What does this quote mean to me?

     First of all, I don't pay much attention to outdated studies.  I
     prefer to use research that was performed in this decade.  In 1971, I
     wasn't even an embryo.  How could research from 1971 apply to me? (I
     mean no offense to any of my elders, nor do I wish to reflect any
     disrespect for the past.  These studies are extremely interesting when
     studying the history of education and society in the seventies.)

     However, this quote suggests something which could be considered true
     in modern times.  Judging from experience and observation, I feel that
     there is less of a correlation between GPA and performance than there
     should be.  When speaking of performance, I am defining it as career
     success and income.  If a recent study was available for reference, I
     have a hunch that only those with the highest GPA's from the most
     prestigious universities with extremely specialized degrees would
     achieve career success and earn the kind of money they deserve, if not
     more.  Those with high to average GPA's would probably achieve the
     same amount of success, and those with below-average GPA's might
     "perform" slightly lower than the high to average.

     There are several reasons why a GPA will not predict an individual's
     success, just as there are several reasons success does not correlate
     with GPA's.  An SAT score reflects a student's raw intellectual
     potential in generic subjects.  A GPA reflects the hard work an
     individual invests in his or her education.  It is a cumulative
     measure of the effort applied in every class of a student's academic
     career, as well as a measure of the student's talent in his or her
     degree area.  If a student achieves the success measured by a GPA,
     this does not guarantee career success.  What if the student excelled
     in an area where the career market was flooded?  What if the student
     decided to dedicate that brilliant mind to work that was low-paying,
     anonymous, or otherwise considered unsuccessful because that student
     wanted a rewarding or morally-satisfying career?  What if the student
     had to make sacrifices for his or her family and took an
     "unsuccessful" job to make money and provide them with benefits?  What
     if the student dedicated herself to the most noble career of all,
     motherhood?  These are considerations we must make when considering
     studies on success and performance.

     Did you ever meet a blue-collar worker who had no GPA, or one who
     dropped out of college?  Many of them achieve a great deal of genuine
     success, both career-related and economically.  Some own their own
     businesses, some are prominent members of their union. They didn't
     need a degree to succeed in an occupation for which they had talent.

     Did you ever meet a salesman who skimmed through college to get a
     marketing degree, but made millions by manipulating his or her
     customers?  Did you ever meet a high-school dropout with millions of
     dollars from shady business deals, lawsuits, and kickbacks from other
     corrupt individuals?  These people may have a title and make money
     doing something they are good at, but that isn't success if you ask
     me.

     A student's academic performance can be reasonably measured by a
     cumulative GPA.  However, one's life performance cannot be measured by
     title, income, and career achievement alone.  Success must also be
     judged by personal enjoyment of life and career, the impact a person
     has on the lives of others, and the good a person does to the world.
     Afterall, why else are we here?

     These are just my humble thoughts, pondered at my very rewarding (but
     not prestigious) job, where I help to change the world (at an income
     much lower than a person with my GPA should earn).  I am happy, I feel
     am successful, and I am very grateful to the person who made me really
     think about it.

     Jennifer Lynn Tinsley
     Academic Coordinator
     Developmental Education
     Moraine Valley Community College

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