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Hi, Jennifer.  As someone who started college late (age 29), I cringed a
little when you stated your commitment to research "performed on this
decade."  Where does that leave Darwin?  Or Ann Brown?  Or zillions of
others?  My point, however, is not to argue that there is wisdom in
precedent, but to suggest that you may find a kindred spirit in Robert
Sternberg, the Yale psychologist.  During the recent ice storm in Maine, I
had the opportunity to read his SUCCESSFUL INTELLIGENCE and I think I
underlined every word.  His analysis of the problems with SAT's and other
tests of intelligence/aptitude/potential are worth noting.  Just a thought.
Mary Leslie

At 04:46 PM 1/7/98 -0600, you wrote:
>     "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     First of all, I don't pay much attention to outdated studies.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
>
Mary F. Leslie,
Director of Developmental Skills
University of Maine at Augusta
253 Augusta Civic Center
46 University Drive
Augusta, ME  04330-4910
(207) 621-3151
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http://www.uma.maine.edu