Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What's your CGPA?

Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA)
My CGPA just went up. *celebrates*
No, it’s not because I started studying more or anything. My law school just found out that they needed to be more lenient in their marking system to ensure that I get a job.
Unbelievable? Well, it’s happening so better believe it.
In the last few years many law schools have changed their grading system and made them more lenient. Law schools see higher grades as one way to rescue their students from unemployment. Perhaps even to protect their reputation and ‘rankings’.
Till now we have seen a lot of tactics that law schools adopt to ensure better recruitment for their students. Some of them organize recruitment camps early, some of them treat their recruiters lavishly etc.
Grade inflation is probably the most dangerous of these tactics. Imagine everyone’s grades going up. No change in study time or preparatory material or papers. Parents will be happy, in the beginning, and why not, their son/daughter is scoring well. A first class in law school was not that easy to come till some time back but their son/daughter has a first class in almost all subjects. Happy parents, happy students and happy college. Erm, just tell me one thing, if everyone is getting good grades then how will you differentiate between the good students and the bad students? The recruiters will be or should I say, are in a fix. They always look at the CGPA first. (Mistake?) So if my college gives CGPAs out of 10 and half of the class is above 8.5 then does that mean that no one is even mediocre, leave alone bad?
“If somebody’s paying $150,000 for a law school degree, you don’t want to call them a loser at the end,” says Stuart Rojstaczer, a former geophysics professor at Duke who now studies grade inflation. “So you artificially call every student a success.”
Harvard, Stanford and Yale do not have grading systems. They now follow a pass/fail system. This again creates problems for recruiters. But then according to me it the fault of the recruiters to judge a student by CGPA alone, so its fine. I guess if law schools here do that then more emphasis would come on the other activities, the articles, the moots, the internships and as always, Jugaad. Is that good or bad?
If all the law schools start doing it then the status quo will not change. The problem starts when the grades reach such a level that the college cannot increase it any further. So there will be a time when all the colleges will have the same average grades. How cool na? No need for rankings. India Today and Outlook, are you listening? We will have no other choice but to go for the pass/fail system then.
So basically it’s a stupid system. I am sure none of the law schools will change but yes this is something that students and prospective recruiters have to look after. Some of the recruiters keep track of such things but others don’t and so are easy conned.
This will take time and so all of us will pass (with good grades, I must add). If this continues then the future is definitely not bright.
My CGPA just went up. *Oh damn!*
P.S. - This post first appeared on Legally India: What's your CGPA? and related read.

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