Monday, April 25, 2011

GPA Redistribution

In an interesting video piece at Accuracy In Academia (well worth a look) students at a few universities approached their fellow students with a petition that would put in place at their respective universities a policy that those with extremely high GPAs would have some of their GPS “redistributed” to students with low-end GPAs.  The point, of course, was to note the reactions.

While some initially questioned the analogy, it was difficult to evade the force of it.  If you think the government should redistribute incomes (especially those of the highest earners) then why not do the same with GPAs?  Sure, some GPA low-earners are just goof-offs, but not all are.  Some are just less talented.  Some just are not as smart.  On the other hand, some with high GPAs work hard for them, but some just have a “knack” for academics.  So why not “even things up” a bit?

Many objected that this “would not be fair.”  But if GPA redistribution is not fair, why is income redistribution fair?  Many said, “It’s just different.”  But they could never explain exactly why it was different.  You could see that most had never thought of things in quite this way, and most of them struggled to respond, not dismissing the question or just walking away.  It is quite interesting.

One young lady did not reject the GPA redistribution out of hand, but she wanted to understand the proposal better:  was it just that students would be permitted to give some of their GPA to others, or would it be out of their individual control?  The proposal was to make this a policy out of the control of individual students.  The young lady did not think that was fair.

Of course, it would not be fair, any more than is income redistribution.  But in our current cultural climate, I would not be surprised to hear some university official propose just such a system in some form or other.

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