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Slim

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foriegn GPA average
« on: November 10, 2004, 06:43:50 AM »
The Fulbright program has a conversion chart for foreign lawyers. Using this to convert my law grades to a US GPA I calculated that over the course of my law degree my GPA was 3.16 and for my final year was 3.85. I want to apply for an LLM program in the US. How would I measure up with these grades ?  A lot of prospectuses I have looked at mention that foreign grads need to have obtained their JD equivalent with "high standing" or words to that effect. Any schools I should focus on ? Any schools which I should rule out automatically ?
Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson.

ivanka

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Re: foriegn GPA average
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2007, 10:19:30 PM »
Not only foreign secondary school graduates consider their education to be better than U.S. secondary education (most foreign cultures place a great emphasis on science and math with American kids being remarkably weak in these areas), but also post-secondary graduates around the world are superior to American ones. Overseas students specialize in an academic area from day 1 and only take courses relating to the major field of study throughout the program. In the U.S. this is not the case until the master's degree level (following 4 years of college where students spend money on useless liberal arts courses during their first 2 years). Indeed, many 5-year post-secondary degrees in engineering and the natural sciences from other countries are recognized at the master's degree level in the U.S.

As far as grading and grades are concerned: the selection process for higher education in contries such as China and Russia is notoriously dufficult. Only the better secondary school students with high entrance exam scores enter higher education. If you'd place the grades of these students on a Bell curve in relation to the entire population, they would all be at the upper end, regardless of the grades they actually receive once in higher education. On the other hand, grading in most countries is very strict. The end result is almost always that a foreign graduate is superior to the U.S. one, despite the fact that his/her foreign degree and GPA may be looked down upon by adcoms and discounted when compared with the same GPA of an American candidate

cpndt

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Re: foriegn GPA average
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2007, 10:30:19 PM »
Wow, ivanka, looks like you are working for a foreign credentials evaluation agency!

(r)evolution

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Making the Grade
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2007, 09:10:30 PM »
Indeed, America's premier colleges and universities need to "come out of the closet" about grade inflation. Only minor increases in average grades at colleges occurred from the 1930s until the 1960s. During the Vietnam War, however, some professors began to inflate grades of students at risk of failing out of school and potentially being drafted. Average grades then leveled off until the mid 1980s, when federal and state funding for higher education became more limited and schools were forced to assume a business-like model of operation that has not changed since. Once you start treating students like consumers, you want to make them happy, and one way to make them happy is by giving consistently high grades. The customer is always right.

Average grades are only marginally different from 20 years ago; as a matter of fact, they are higher than they were 20 years ago. And it is not that students today are smarter than before in any absolute sense.

(r)evolution

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Grade Inflation: It's Time to Face the Facts
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2007, 09:17:56 PM »
A professor decided to experiment with the grading of his political-philosophy course at Harvard. He gave each student two grades: one for the registrar and the public record, and the other in private. The official grades conformed with Harvard's inflated distribution, in which one-fourth of all grades given to undergraduates are now A's, and another fourth are A-'s. The private grades, from the course assistants and him, were less flattering. Those grades gave students a realistic, useful assessment of how well they did and where they stood in relation to others.

A longtime critic of grade inflation, he had seen his grades dragged gradually higher over the years, while still trailing the rising average. He could not ignore the pressure to meet student expectations that other faculty members had created and maintained, but he did not want just to go along silently. The two-grade device was a way to show his contempt for the present system, yet not punish students who take his course. His intent was to get attention and to provoke some new thinking. He certainly got attention. He was pleased at the degree of interest from around the country, both in the news media and from the general public. The grades that faculty members gave -- not only at Harvard but at many other elite universities -- deserved to be a scandal.

People often criticize elementary and secondary schools for demanding too little of students. But at Harvard, the supposed pinnacle of American education, professors are quite satisfied to bestow outlandishly high grades upon students. They even think those grades reflect well on them; they show how popular they are with bright students. And so they are quite satisfied with themselves, too. There is something inappropriate -- almost sick -- in the spectacle of mature adults showering young people with unbelievable praise. They are flattering their students in their eagerness to get their good opinion. That their students are promising makes it worse, for promise made complacent is easily spoilt. What's more, professors who give easy grades gain just a fleeting popularity, salted with disdain. In later life, students will forget those professors; they will remember the ones who posed a challenge.

In a healthy university, it would not be necessary to say what is wrong with grade inflation. But once the evil becomes routine, people can no longer see it for what it is. Even though educators should instinctively understand why grade inflation is a problem, one has to be explicit about it. Grade inflation compresses all grades at the top, making it difficult to discriminate the best from the very good, the very good from the good, the good from the mediocre. Surely a teacher wants to mark the few best students with a grade that distinguishes them from all the rest in the top quarter, but at Harvard that's not possible. Some of my colleagues say that all you have to do to interpret inflated grades is to recalibrate them in your mind so that a B+ equals a C, and so forth. But the compression at the top of the scale does not permit the gradation that you need to rate students accurately.

Moreover, everyone knows that C is an average grade, whereas a B+ is next to the top. Mere recalibration does not address the real problem: the raising of grades way beyond what students deserve. At Harvard, the notion of an average student is lost. By that it is meant a Harvard average, not a comparison with the high-school average that enabled the students to be admitted there. When bright students take a step up and find themselves with other bright students, they should face a new, higher standard of excellence. The loss of the notion of average shows that professors do not begin with their own criteria for the performance of students in their courses. Professors do not say to themselves, "This is what I can require; anything above that enters into excellence." No. With an eye to student course evaluations and confounded by the realization that they have somehow lost authority, professors begin from what they think students expect. American colleges used to set their own expectations. Now, increasingly, they react to student expectations -- even though, by contrast to stormy times in the past, students are very respectful.

Thus another evil of grade inflation is the loss of faculty morale that it reveals. It signifies that professors care less about their teaching. Anyone who cares a lot about something -- for example, a baseball fan -- is very critical in making judgments about it. Far from the opposite of caring, being critical is the very consequence of caring. It is difficult for students to work hard, or for the professor to get them to work hard, when they know that their chances of getting an A or A- are 50-50. Students today are still motivated to get good grades, but if they do not wish to work hard toward that end, they can always maneuver and bargain. Some say Harvard students are better these days and deserve higher grades. But if they are in some measures better, the proper response is to raise our standards and demand more of our students. Cars are better-made now than they used to be. So when buying a car, would you be satisfied with one that was as good as they used to be?

Besides, the evidence clearly undermines that argument. The Harvard University Extension School, taught mostly by Harvard faculty members, has about the same grading distribution as Harvard College, although exact figures on grades are difficult to come by. The school holds evening classes open to the public -- a mix of Ph.D.'s, college dropouts, and high-school students -- and is not reserved for the super-smart of America's youth. Yet the Harvard professors who teach those admirable, self-improving souls cannot restrain their own -- well, it's not generosity, because high grades cost professors nothing. Another point calls into question the claim that students are smarter now: Grades in humanities courses are notably higher than those in the social sciences, and both are higher than grades in the natural sciences. Yet would anyone say that Harvard's best students are in the humanities and its worst in the natural sciences? In fact, science students regularly do better in non-science courses than non-science students do in science courses. How did we get into this mess? Perhaps I should be asking how we should get out of it. But to answer that question, one needs to appreciate the strength of feeling behind grade inflation.

polycephalous

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Grade Inflation At Selective Colleges
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2007, 04:28:24 AM »
Georgetown is also notorious for grade inflation. Georgetown's grade distribution is significantly higher than the average distribution at many Ivy League schools.