This post is about the 12 point grading system that McMaster has (one of the only schools that does) and why it's a highly flawed system of scoring everyone's GPA.
Usually schools give you percent grades and average out the grades which makes sense, but with the 12 point scale, in one simple average that computers do, people's GPA’s can drop upwards of ten percent. There is never a case where the student gets higher or even the same as what they deserve, it is always substantially lower.
Let me give you an example. Let's say in all four years I get 39 courses with a grade of 12 and one course with a grade of 11. You would think that my average would obviously be in the high nineties. But if we do what McMaster does, averages out the numbers 12, 12, 12, ..., 12, 11 it turns out to be 11.9, which is an 89 percent. So I could get 100 percent in 39 courses and 89 percent in one course and my average would be 89. About ten percent less than it would be if we had just averaged out the percentages alone. It is nearly impossible to get a GPA of 4.0 because that would mean every single course on your transcript has to be a 12. A single 11 would drop your average by ten percent.
If you average out your own grades and then compare it to the point average at the bottom of your transcript you'll also see that your mark has been dropped by at least a couple percent. My mark has been underestimated by 6 percent and that’s assuming that I got the lowest percent in each point bracket. Since we don’t know our percent, but we do know the range, try it both ways. Average out the highest percentage you could have gotten and the lowest percentage you could have gotten (ex. a 9 and a 10 could be either 79% and 84% or 77% and 80%). In either case, that average will be higher than the one your transcript says. There is no mathematical way for McMaster to ever give you a GPA of what you actually got or higher, it is always significantly lower.
Another simpler example: if in two courses I get 78 percent and 82 percent, you would think that my average would be 80. It makes sense on a numerical level. Let’s convert that to points- 9 and 10. The average of the two points is 9.5, which is not an 80 percent; it is actually around a 78 percent. So according to McMaster, the average of 78 and 80 is 78. This point system essentially ‘screws you over’ as you don’t get the marks that you deserve and when applying to a higher level education you are competing with students from universities that give them proper representations of their marks.
At first, when I figured this out I thought maybe there was something I was missing- so I went to the registrar’s office looking for answers. I came out of there leaving them confused. All they said was “we don’t know what happens, we just get the grades from the faculties and put it in the computer and they churn out this number”. So after all the hard work done by professors and students around Mac to get their marks the highest it can be, their cumulative average is “churned out” by a computer that no one at registrar seems to understand and in turn is underestimated. They assume that any average is a fair average, and that averaging out a bunch of points with different weights (i.e. points 1-9 have a range of 3-4% while a 12 has a range of 10%) gives everyone a proper GPA. This is a very flawed way of taking someone’s average and is unfair to every registered student at McMaster.
I am going to the MSU to represent me on this and see if there is anything that could be done. It will not be difficult to change because the faculties are responsible for giving the grades to registrar (in the form of grade letters A+, A, B, etc.). To change that to percentages would be simple as professors would just have to calculate marks in more detail. Once these marks are sent to registrar, the computer would be able to average out the grades the way it does points and give everyone a proper representation of their GPA. It is neither the registrar’s nor the faculties’ faults but the fault of miscommunication between the two. I have gone to both the faculty offices and the registrar office and neither of them know anything about it and both directed me to the other office. Because of this simple mix-up, every single student at McMaster pays dearly.
For a GPA conversion visit http://careers.mcmaster.ca/students/education-planning/virtual-resources/gpa-conversion-chart You'll notice that McMaster is one of the only school's that has a 12 point scale and that most universites use percent grades.
Please spread the word about this. Post it on your profile and message friends. If you have any questions or if you still don't quite get it, feel free to contact me.
I'm not sure if anyone of you is among the mutual friend list chain of this guy, but this note posted on facebook today is bothering me like hell. I solved the first concern I think: "Hasheel, your theory adds up if I rack up numbers on my calculator using your method. However I do remember clearly reading on Macinsiders(A post by a senior student) that we should ALWAYS first convert our individual grade to the 4.0 and then take out the /4.0 average. In that case it would be 39*4.0+ 3.9/ 40= 3.9975
At this point I'm assuming that they would obviously round of to 4.0
As for the averaging problem criteria, I'll ponder over that for a bit. But do contact VPED and if that fails OMBUDS for a resoultion, I won't be surprised if there is a more knowledgeable grading officer somewhere in the bowels of Gilmour Hall who might know something :S"
But I have NOO idea about the rest, having been given Credit for all the calculus I ever need for my Econ degree via Highschool and being out of touch since then. Since I obviously don't have that guys permission to post it on the main page and get a more educated response, by some random shot does someone here knows the solution to the averaging problem?
p.s: I do
have the permission of the individual who posted the note on Facebook(link attached)