What does that final grade mean?

I have control on how a final grade is calculated – but not how it is used.

When my students leave my class, they’ll get one of five letters on their transcript.  It’s a secret code that is distilled from my teaching, their learning, their performance and the heavy thumb of my value system (do I count zeros, allow re-takes, grade homework?).

The really crazy part about this whole process is how that code gets shipped off to some college, scholarship, university or whatever.  They ship the code – but NOT THE KEY!  How crazy is that?

And to make it worse, they do their best to break the code based purely on assumptions!  Some people count a B in an AP class as more than an A in a regular class.  How do they know that?  I assume they treat all Algebra II grades as the same.  How do they know that?  They don’t.  It’s a huge assumption that leads to a loophole for students to game the system.  Some students have caught on to this, and they know it’s all about the letter grade until they finish their undergraduate degree.

I don’t think the problem is grade inflation – the problem is the grade is meaningless.

next – what this means for my grades