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Author Topic: Deans list top = top 15%... my friend was 15.4320987654%, help me argue this!  (Read 4383 times)

gratif

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He was 25/162.  From the academic policy manual.

III-C-6. Graduation Honors, Deanís List, and Class Rankings

...

B. Deanís List

The Deanís List will be the top 15 percent in each class for each semester. The Deanís List will be compiled and students will be informed of their distinction. Students will also be invited to contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs if they do not wish to have their names included on the public version of the Deanís List. After students are given a reasonable opportunity to request that their names be withheld from publication, the Deanís List will be published.



I stole this argument from the "should I drop out" thread, but based on the lack of precision in the policy handbook, one could argue that top 15.4% rounds to the top 15% based on some common understanding of mathyness.

And the argument could be frosted by that canon of construction (from contracts) that says something about ambiguity erring on the side of the non-drafter.  Isn't there some clever sounding latin for this? 

I know the dean, and he will treat this handbook like a contract.



If anyone could hammer this out in a few sentances for the email to the dean, that'd be really helpful.  Having trouble articulating it.

jhertzo

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May be different at your school but mine says: "A studentís percentile ranking is easily calculated by merely dividing the ranking, and always rounding up to the next whole number percentile. For example: if a studentís rank is 86/250; dividing 86 by 250, yields 0.344; which means the student ranks in the top 35th percentile of the class." So, I would assume they would round 15.4 up to 16 even though its .432.  But if the rules are stated diff. in the handbook maybe you can argue it, ours was stated that way in an e-mail that came out with rankings.
CWRU '10

StevePirates

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My school also forces you to round up.  If you're 15.0011%, you're in the top 16%, not the top 15%.  I think your friend is out of luck.  There's not much ambiguity with numbers.

What does Top 15% mean?  Mean 15.00000... and lower.   I would imagine that your handbook elsewhere has a rule regarding rounding.  Or your career services probably does for how to put ranking on resumes.  Rounding to the closest whole number works for estimating, but not for percentiles, which are predicated on coming "under".  Top 10% is everyone 10% and less.  So the cut-off is naturally on the whole number. 


May be different at your school but mine says: "A studentís percentile ranking is easily calculated by merely dividing the ranking, and always rounding up to the next whole number percentile. For example: if a studentís rank is 86/250; dividing 86 by 250, yields 0.344; which means the student ranks in the top 35th percentile of the class." So, I would assume they would round 15.4 up to 16 even though its .432.  But if the rules are stated diff. in the handbook maybe you can argue it, ours was stated that way in an e-mail that came out with rankings.

jacy85

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What does Top 15% mean?  Mean 15.00000... and lower.   I would imagine that your handbook elsewhere has a rule regarding rounding.  Or your career services probably does for how to put ranking on resumes.  Rounding to the closest whole number works for estimating, but not for percentiles, which are predicated on coming "under".  Top 10% is everyone 10% and less.  So the cut-off is naturally on the whole number. 


This is the correct analysis, IMO, and any rounding down when you're dealing with percentiles is fudging the numbers in ways that are contrary to the very concept of the percentile.

gratif

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We disagree. 

Represent us.

gratif

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A colorable argument can be made.  Make it as if your grade depends upon it.  I'll grade you on a 2.67 curve.

StevePirates

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If I was that guy and I just wanted to go down swinging, I would make the following arguments:
25/162 is the only person with the number 15 in their percentage rank.  24/162 is 14.blahblahblah  and 26/162 is 16.04blahblahblah.

So, 25/162 would be the only person impacted by a lax interpretation of 15% (so to forestall slippery slope arguments)

With that in mind, "Dean's List" is an honor that makes it easier to get jobs.  So it is a functional tool.  Job placement matters as much to the school as it does to your friend.  One extra person will not dilute Dean's List.  But, it will make one easier job placement, which will benefit the school. (utility and mutual benefit:  Getting to Yes for the win.)

Then, your real only argument for why your interpretation of 15% should win goes as follows.
"The handbook is vague.  15% could include everything up to 16%, so 15.9999% and under. Your book doesn't state either way.  Because both student and school benefit more under my analysis, and the vagueness gives a justification for the grant of Dean's List, you should do it."

Then I'd make a meta-argument.  "The fact that I'm here making this argument shows you that I'm dedicated and a hard worker.  It shows you that I am thinking about my job prospects and how it helps this school."  The theory being that the school will like an aware dedicated individual who has the school's interest in mind.

The problem is your friend probably has no leverage, and the schools main concern will probably be about not diluting Dean's List, and not setting a precedent of case by case determination.

The only leverage I can think of is, "My rank makes it possible to transfer to a school that will make it easier for me to get a better job.  Dean's list would help me get a better job if I stayed here.  My only goal is to get a better job.  I would prefer to stay here and get a better job, but if I cannot get a good job here I will leave."


I'm interested in hearing how this turns out.
I think your friend loses, and I think your friend should lose.  15% is a number.  Percentiles are well understood.  I don't think there is any vagueness that actually exists.  He missed the mark just slightly, and that sucks.  But someone has to be the first person to not get the grade. Like the first guy to not grade onto law review.


wcombs65

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If you have to come to this website and ask for help in arguing a point, maybe the Dean's List just isn't for you (or your friend in this case). 

ckoz11

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haha this is so cut and dry..your friend isn't in the top 15%. if the school makes the distinction that deans list is top 15%, you wouldnt even have an argument for 15.0001%. Seperates the students into two well defined groups: those inside 15 percent and those outside. 15.4 is outside of 15.

008

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sorry but, top 15% means exactly what it says

think about it from zero up

0-1% - top 1%  anything above 1% is not in the top 1%

thus 0-15% = top 15%

there is really no ambiguity

HOWEVER, i really do like and buy the utility and mutual benefit argument made by StevePirates
When a candidate faces the voters he does not face men of sense [but] a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion. As democracy is perfected the White House will be adorned with a moron.