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GPA

My GPA was 3.89.
I have a job.
If you delete this without an explanation I will assume that means you don't want me at this forum.

The Real PC
Saturday, February 22, 2003

My GPA was 3.2 and I am also employed.  Never asked about my GPA in interviews, even with no experience.  Companies know that GPAs aren't a true indicator.  Out of school, they want to see that you have a passion for software development (hell, I think using "programming is a passion for me") struck a cord with my boss during the interview.  He didn't care that I didn't know the platform (Lotus Notes/Domino) or that my GPA was under 3.50. 

GiorgioG
Saturday, February 22, 2003

A person's GPA doesn't tell you everything about them. There is no number that can summarize a person.
On the other hand, along with everything else, it provides evidence. I don't want to be mistaken for the guy with a low GPA who is asking advice (and using my name) about how important GPA is. Some replies said a high GPA shows you're a moron who just does what you're told. Really smart people are too good for that.
Well that's bullshit. If you're really smart you can easily figure out how to get A's with minimal effort. So why not do it? Why get low grades on purpose, to prove how smart you are?
I like proving to myself that I can do something. How would I know I'm smart if I didn't get good grades and test scores, and learn enough about programming to get jobs? Anyone can say they're so smart and so special they shouldn't have to prove anything to anyone. Every immature person thinks they are the most special person on earth.
The reality is you are no more special than anyone else. If you want your wonderfulness to be appreciated you will have to make an effort, and you will have to prove that you can do the things you claim you can do.
If you were too lazy to study in school, then there are plenty of other ways to demonstrate competence.
The best programmer where I work never went to college, and has easily proven his abilities.

The Real PC
Saturday, February 22, 2003

You want people with the lowest GPA's working for you.  They are the ones who feel dumb, and therefore feel lucky to have a job.  People with 4.0 GPA's have been brainwashed into thinking "the world is their oyster" and will always have nagging thoughts in their heads that they should be doing something bigger and better, perhaps not even in the tech field..  Of course, this bigger and better rarely exists, but they don't know that.  So the 4.0 Ivy graduate will never be a content worker, b/c he always will feel that "he could have done anything", and whatever job he is doing probably is not it.  Some may want to "reach for the stars" and run off to get an MBA or Law degree, b/c, well, b/c they have to ability to obtain one. 

Yes, you are better off hiring a Community College graduate who is happier than a pig in shit to be working for you.  At the end of the day, that is 100x more valuable than someone who was able to evaluate Turing machines in his "Theory of Computing" class back at MIT.

Bella
Saturday, February 22, 2003

That depends Bella. Not everyone wants to be a lawyer or business administrator, etc. There are smart people, like myself for example, who actually like programming. It's the most intellectually challenging and satisfying work I have done, even more fun than getting a Ph.D. in linguistics.
Many or most programmers, or most at this forum anyway, got into this field because they couldn't think of anything better to do. Yourself included, probably. So naturally you can't imagine anyone actually liking it.

The Real PC
Saturday, February 22, 2003

I dont even have a GPA. Im employed too :)

Patrik
Saturday, February 22, 2003

I know that GPA is used in US and Canada... Are the any other countries that use the same grade system (i.e. 4.0 is  the highest) ?

I just went through an interview and was asked about my GPA for the first time in my life (and after 10+ years after graduation). The problem is that I've got my degrees from a foreign univercity that had the grade of 5 as "excellent", 4 as "good" and 3 as "satisfactory". On the application form, I put GPA = 4.75... Now I think, it looks weird to HR manager; perhaps it was better to leave it blank.

raindog
Saturday, February 22, 2003

Some US Unvis have their GPA on scale of 5 too.

Prakash S
Saturday, February 22, 2003

I'm going to say that GPA has absolutly nothing to do with someone's productivity.  Both of my last two bosses (who were outstanding programmers and examples for me) both exceled in school, (one at MIT, the other University of Moscow).  Now, they both have a decent amount of respect for me, even though my GPA was well, not so great in high school, and I haven't even graduated college.  Another one of the top programmers I know actually flunked out of high school, and is now doing outstanding.  Just goes to show that it doesn't seem to matter either way. 

Vincent Marquez
Saturday, February 22, 2003

Vincent,
You might want to take a statistics course.
Your conclusion that GPA doesn't matter at all is based on a ridiculously small sample.
It's always possible to find an example of someone who is a great programmer (or whatever) yet never finished school. I gave an example myself -- the best programmer where I work never went to college. There are people who know how to learn and don't have to be guided by teachers who are often third-rate anyway.
But programmers at least have to know how to read and learn. A good GPA is evidence for that. A low GPA is not a good sign and if I were trying to hire someone I would ask their GPA if they were a recent graduate.

The Real PC
Saturday, February 22, 2003

I think the real problem with using GPA as some kind of measuring stick is that manymany people simply haven't finished maturing by 21, especially if they've been pampered (read: Parental lifeline followed by collegiate paternalism) the whole time.

Don't get me wrong - there are people who *do* mature, do well in college, and go on to excel in life. But others are still coming to grips with life between 18 and 22, but then go on to be brilliant performers.

Add in that (IMHO) a lot of undiagnosed ADD types fumble around in college but then get their act together, as well as (IMHO, again) ADD and IQ being directly related and anyone who looks solely at GPA is cutting off a valuable resource.

Bottom line - after two years out of college, a wise employer will be 100x more interested in work performance than GPA.

Philo

Philip Janus
Saturday, February 22, 2003

It is a question of assumptions.

If a person has not completed High school - most people assume he/she is a bum, and when you find out that they have been programming for some years and they are good - you are suprised 'cos you always assumed something else.

If a person has graduated with whatever BS/MS/PhD - you assume that a person knows so much, and can do so much; which is again not true.

Of course there are always exceptions.

Prakash S
Saturday, February 22, 2003

I'm not in love with the education system here in the US and for the most part I think it's a waste of money. I have taught myself how to learn from books and most of what I know did not come from university professors. Even while I was going through formal education, anything of value that I learned, in general, came from independent reading.
A person can certainly be smart and educated without a degree or a GPA.
On the other hand, a person can certainly be stupid and lazy without formal education.

The Real PC
Saturday, February 22, 2003

Oh, I forgot the last sentence.
A degree improves the odds that a person will know something or at least be motivated and capable of learning. It's some kind of evidence, although you never really know until you have known and worked with the person for a while.

The Real PC
Saturday, February 22, 2003

I strongly dissagree. A degree proves that you have a pulse and can play a university's little game for 4 years without getting so sick of it you go do your own thing. An ADVANCED degree proves you have some level of interest and motivation (or something similar). Neither degree nor GPA are strongly correlative with personal motivation, just the ability to focus on externally specified tasks.

Disclaimer: I got fed up with university bullshit and dropped out. And I'm happily employed.

--
Alex Russell
alex@netWindows.org
http://www.netWindows.org

Alex Russell
Saturday, February 22, 2003

There are people who are unable to concentrate or remember what they read. A degree indicates that you don't have a serious learning disability, and that you have enough discipline to concentrate on subjects that may not always be riveting.
And knowing how to play games sometimes doesn't hurt. Wherever there are human beings there you will find stupid games.
I found myself in the middle of graduate school seriously disagreeing with some of my professors about a certain researcher who happened to be a close friend of theirs. They were incapable of seeing anything illogical in anything he ever said or wrote. My thesis was at odds with his ideas and I had to get it accepted somehow in spite of that. I could have told them all to go to hell, I was smarter than all of them, they were nothing but politicians, etc. But I decided to calm down and go ahead with my research without making a big deal out of the areas of disagreement. I didn't change my ideas at all or pretend to agree when I didn't. But I made sure to get along with the professors and not to act like some kind of rebellious nut. I felt like I was playing a game, sort of.
I bet everyone in every career runs into situations like that, where you have to supress your anger and smile in order to get your way.
Knowing how to get along with authorities and show them respect is a useful, even essential, game to know. Not that all authorities deserve respect, and not that every degreed person is a game-player. But in general, knowing how to fit in reasonably well is necessary if you want to be successful. Having a degree shows you have at least a minimal ability to fit in with some kind of organization.
I would be interested in hearing stories that disprove this idea, though.

The Real PC
Saturday, February 22, 2003

Ok, maybe the question/topic needs to be changed.  Once someone has proven themselves to be productive in a real working enviorment, is GPA still important.  Of course, when interviewing kids comming right out of school with no work experience for low level positions, all you have is GPA.  But someone interviewing for a mid level position, with solid experience, does it still matter?

Vincent Marquez
Saturday, February 22, 2003

Whatever we have done in our lives stays with us to some extent. A low GPA means less and less as time goes by, if your work is good. A high GPA means less and less if your work is bad. It's like anything in life. If you committed a crime once but have been a good citizen for many years, people forget about the crime eventually. If you were the valedictarian of your high school but later became a drug addict, people forget that you were once smart.
A good GPA won't guarantee a successful life, and a bad one won't prevent a successful life. It's just one more thing among many.

The Real PC
Saturday, February 22, 2003

"Once someone has proven themselves to be productive in a real working enviorment, is GPA still important."

If you're interviewing a .Net developer with eight years experience, how much time are you going to spend asking him/her about that Access 1.0 project that's first on his resume? Do you care about it?

Then why would you care about the binge/purge education that preceded it (and may not have even been on relevant information)?

Philo

Philip Janus
Saturday, February 22, 2003

Skills and experience are all that matter in this field.  I have never been asked my GPA.  I don't even think I know it, to be honest.  Quite frankly, I don't even think anyone ever even asked what college I attended, nevermind my GPA. 

Bella
Saturday, February 22, 2003

To the RealPC,
sorry for using your name,anyway my gpa is 3.52 if it makes any difference at all.......

annonymous
Sunday, February 23, 2003

Bella has an interesting theory about the relationship between high GPA and snobbish tendencies. Speaking as a former high - SAT kid with a good GPA, he's pretty much right. :-)  It did take me awhile to unlearn the entitlement thinking and arrogance that toadying parents and school administrators habitually courting the smart kid tended to breed.


(The problem with being a smart kid is that everyone *loves* you when you're 19 because they're flattered by association, but when you're 35+ and smart, everyone utterly despises you because you're almost always right, but not politically aware enough to shut up about it... )


Having said that... I do find a high correllation between the ability to work at a professional level in this industry, and the possession of *some* college degree in a hard science or engineering. The most aggravatingly hackish and disorganized programmers I've known tend to not have college degrees. They also scorn or disregard basic communication skills such as technical writing, and they don't seem to be able to grasp certain concepts such as the interlocking features of an object oriented language. Lastly, they get INCREDIBLY defensive when they're caught in an error that is caused by the lack of formal methods. I generally don't like working with non college educated people in this field because head butting against ignorance ensues. Not always, but generally.


College basically teaches you how to learn, but I think that the exact GPA is a somewhat immaterial measure of productivity and correctness of code. 


I do think GPA is a rough character and judgement indicator when placed in the context of the person's intellect and motivation. Straight A's or the equivalent  (IE, not one 'B' or lesser mark) indicate anality about the appearance of perfection and indicate slavish adherence to standards. The most absolutely boring and methodically unimaginative people I've known have had mathematically perfect GPA's. A smart and pragmatic person who has a properly cynical attitude toward life (such as believing that appearance is not everything) should generally earn close to (but not exactly) a 4.00 (A) GPA. Significantly less than a 4.00 GPA for a highly intelligent, high SAT/admission test person indicates lazy genius syndrome, self esteem issues, etc. - contrary to some declarations I would hesitate to hire someone with great gifts who "slummed".  Relatively high GPA coupled with an average IQ indicates high motivation, and is probably a really good indicator of later success in life.


It's rather telling to me that one highly dysfunctional company - Big Blue - was (in the early 90's) so anally concerned with GPA that an interviewer  asked me my college GPA. And I was out of college, what, 13-14 years. I smirked and said "3.6" (true) which I knew was good enough. But at Big Blue it was a sort of country club "good breeding" mentality, and had nothing to do with assessing capacity to actually learn or produce.

Bored Bystander
Sunday, February 23, 2003

Well I must be dumb as a rock considering that I got a 980 on my SATs and graduated college with a 2.7 GPA.  Could be that I spent more time doing software development and running businesses than I did with school.  Since I just graduated recently, I'm not sure what effect it will have on me.  I doubt it will have much effect at all.

Jonathan A.
Sunday, February 23, 2003

Bored Bystander, a high GPA may show that somone has a high level of "anality", but I fail to see how that relates to pure productivity.  Sure, if i'm hiring some bum right outta college and I need him to wade through thousands of lines of code and fix syntax errors, add some whitespace, and rename variables thats fine and dandy.  It says nothing on pure intelligence, much less creativity (which is very important beyond a junior programmer position). 

Your comment about non-collegiates having trouble with Object Oriented programming...i'm going to say that you have it reversed.  I've worked with a number of people with both BS's  and MS 's from some very  good CS schools, and by far they are the ones that don't "get it".  Its true that this is a small sampling, and maybe it just says something about california's educational system, but most graduates are clueless. 

Does anyone else feel like this is the old "college vs no-college" debate in disguise?

Vincent Marquez
Sunday, February 23, 2003

I will say this.  People without college degrees are incredible insecure, even if they are billionairres, and even if they do not consciously know it.. 

No amount of money and success can overcome that nagging little voice in the back of their head that they just got "lucky", and are'nt that "smart" afterall.

Bella
Sunday, February 23, 2003

> A degree indicates that you don't have a serious learning disability, and that you have enough discipline to concentrate on subjects that may not always be riveting.


I disagree.  Retarded people (literally) routinely get college degrees now.  Didn't Hellen Keller get a degree?  I would classify her as having a "serious learning disability"

Bella
Sunday, February 23, 2003

Jonathon:

>> Well I must be dumb as a rock considering that I got a 980 on my SATs and graduated college with a 2.7 GPA.  Could be that I spent more time doing software development and running businesses than I did with school. 

Usually it means that the individual doesn't have a good worth ethic or otherwise can't apply themselves; they have the smarts, they just don't use them. But obviously I'm generalizing. One of the biggest potheads I knew from high school flunked out of college (mommy & daddy paid tuition, natch) but had mid 600 SAT's. No self esteem there, no work ethic, defeatist attitude. I knew a few others that dropped out of college because they basically wouldn't apply themselves to it. Your story is different.

Vincent:

>> Your comment about non-collegiates having trouble with Object Oriented programming...i'm going to say that you have it reversed.  I've worked with a number of people with both BS's  and MS 's from some very  good CS schools, and by far they are the ones that don't "get it".  Its true that this is a small sampling, and maybe it just says something about california's educational system, but most graduates are clueless.

New graduates are clueless, as is anyone at the entry level. Here is an order of precedence in whom I'd consider for a software development job that involves design and implementation as well as possible leadership.

- College educated + demonstrated track record of completed, successful projects. (IE, over 5 years experience in SW dev)
- No college degree + demonstrated track record (> 5 yrs).
- College educated + some experience with a few independent or team projects (2-5 yrs).
- Non college educated with  intermediate experience (2-5 years. - MIGHT consider but skeptical.
- College educated with less than 2 years experience - MIGHT consider but very skeptical.
- No college degree with < 2 yr experience - would not consider.

Bella:

>> I will say this.  People without college degrees are incredible insecure, even if they are billionairres, and even if they do not consciously know it..

Some of the biggest arguments I've witnessed or gotten into have been workplace conflicts involving a non college educated "engineer" or programmer who is simultaneously incredibly defensive about their lack of pedigree but also adamant that their self training indicates that the are *right*. The common problem I've found with non college educated types is that they haven't learned how to reason at a professional level, and they mistake reasoning for a personality and style based contest.

Bored Bystander
Sunday, February 23, 2003

There is an awful lot wrong with the education system here (US). I could write a book on that. We could get rid of education altogether and go back to hunting buffalo with arrows, or we can try to improve the system and help it evolve.
I learned a lot by reading on my own, and I also learned a lot from formal education, in spite of its deficiencies. You can't make a simple statement that formal education is either good or bad -- it is both good and bad and it's a complex subject.

The Real PC
Sunday, February 23, 2003

I have a 3.5 gpa, 2 years experience ,can anybody offer me a job or at least an interview?

Sumit
Sunday, February 23, 2003

I've never been particularly concerned about having left college before getting a degree.  (I had more important things to do.)  After all, getting some job is just another puzzle, and if someone is arrogant enough to consider college a waste of time, he/she can solve this one.

Of course, I do regret that I'm not living the college lifestyle for all it's worth.  But I'm living another life, so who knows.

Fortunately, a lot of college resources are moving online.  For example, some lectures:
http://www.swiss.ai.mit.edu/classes/6.001/abelson-sussman-lectures/
and you can just look at online courseguides to see what books many classes use.  Finding the best math books is harder since they haven't caught onto the web, but the Amazon recommendations aren't so bad and jibe with the books I'm acquainted with.  And plus, us computer people are often a lot more rigorous with our symbols than math people are, so math is no big deal.

Tj
Sunday, February 23, 2003

The only reason for going to college is the lifestyle, since now so much informaton is available online.
Eventually people will wake up to the fact that $100k or more is a lot to pay for a chance to live in a dorm and go to parties.
I think traditional colleges and universities will die out and most learning will be through the internet. The main reason universities exist is so tenured professors can have a nice life. I spent 4 years in the academic system and found a lot wrong with it. But I am 100% in favor of education in general, and I believe it will improve.

The Real PC
Sunday, February 23, 2003

Real PC, you said it. 

Bored Bystander,
i'm going to say this.  I'm going out on the limb, but i'm going to say that the majority from each group would be "no-hires", but over all, your probably right in order of competance.  I can tell you though, I've had 3 years experience, and i've been picked for jobs over people in all of the categories, (and not because i'm cheaper either).

I think the type of experience is very important too.  I got invovled with start ups early on, so I had to learn an incredible ammount very quickly, and I was exposed to a multitude of techologies.  The average college graduate may get a job debugging code or writting pieces of classes, and it may be two years before he sees another languge, gets to design something, learn a new platform, etc. 

To reduce people to categories is good way to miss out on some talented competent people.  Also, i've been involved in the hiring process (got to make recommendations and screen resumes).  When going through hundreds of resumes, we didn't have TIME to even look at schooling, unless people put it at the top.  All we wanted to see was 2+ years of [x technology] and some details on that.

Vincent Marquez
Sunday, February 23, 2003

Vincent,

I've got no argument with anything you say. Your points are excellent. The specific type of experience, the pace of work performed, and the prevailing standards used by the past employer's organization counts for a lot.

I guess to bottom line it -  I've found subtle differences in the general way that formally educated people think, reason, collaborate professionally, and produce designs, compared to non formally educated individuals.  These differences, in my experience, have been consistently in favor of the  college grad. But on the subject of GPA, I've found that GPA alone is pretty unimportant as an indicator either of later financial and business success or of ability to do good work. Poor GPA may indicate a very sharp individual bored with the futility of jumping through hoops.


The problem is "chicken and egg", though, for a newly graduated entry level person. Lacking proven experience, a hiring org has to use *SOME* metric that is consistent and repeatable....I just have a real phobia about 'perfect 4-0' because it can indicate obsessive attention to meeting arbitrary standards of perfection - which is usually counterproductive to getting something done & shipped in real non college life.

Bored Bystander
Sunday, February 23, 2003

>Poor GPA may indicate a very sharp individual bored with the futility of jumping through hoops.

But that's what work is. I have made more money doing boring mundane programming contracts than if I ever did anything creative or challenging. A person who cannot get at least above a 3.0 on a 4 point scale is either lazy or incompetent. Colleges usually curve there grades or inflate them so you only have to do better than the majority of your class. The excuse of I am smart and school bores me is BS.     


Sunday, February 23, 2003

That's right, it's BS. If you're so smart it's easy to get high grades. Getting poor grades to demonstrate how smart you are is self-destructive and pointless.
If you got low grades don't brag about it and try to claim good grades are a sign of stupidity. Just make up for it now by working harder.
School is more interesting if you approach it as a challenge and do your best, and almost any subject is interesting if your attitude is positive. Almost any subject is boring if your mind is closed in advance.
School isn't necessary for learning, but if you are in school you might as well learn something, since you're paying for it anyway. Once you start learning, you will get good grades effortlessly. Simply going to class and doing the reading is enough to get A's most of the time. That's why I do not accept the idea that "A" students are mindless idiots who compulsively obey orders.

The Real PC
Sunday, February 23, 2003

Yeah, the last two points are very important.  I've had to learn in the job market what most learn in school.  Oops.  I always considered school "stupid", because it was easy and mostly busy work.  I quickly learned if you want to get ANYwhere in life, you better be prepared to do a lot of crap work to prove yourself.  Smarts doesn't mean as much as I used to think.  I would hire somone who had a high work ethic and enjoyed programming before I hired someone who is super intelligent.

Vincent Marquez
Sunday, February 23, 2003

Looking at previous threads (like the unis vs. msft one) it seems that the industry looks at college as a breeding ground of codemonkeys and paradigms.  That's self-defeating, since college is also a place to make mistakes, be countercultural, and otherwise go off the deep end.  To do it all for the cold eye of The Industry is missing the point. 

A smart interviewer, if GPA mattered, would ask about the classes and activities that went into it.  Fact of the matter is, GPA is /totally meaningless/.  It varies across colleges, classes, and even years.  A can of worms.  I'm glad I didn't take a single CS course -- that would have been a waste of money.  One does not go to an place like college without taking interesting courses and risks.

Now maybe it's best to have employees with the caution that comes from maintaining good grades.  Maybe this is an empirical debate, and I've noticed that college people are certainly methodical and reliable.  But I just don't see colleges going, "Oh yes, Norm was promoted to VP of human resources at Broadvision, he'll make a great researcher here!"

Tj
Sunday, February 23, 2003

There's obviously not enough work around to do.

Simon Lucy
Monday, February 24, 2003

Three words:

Genius bores easily.

Norrick
Monday, February 24, 2003

Lazy people bore easily.
A genius could become interested in almost any subject.

The Real PC
Monday, February 24, 2003

"A person who cannot get at least above a 3.0 on a 4 point scale is either lazy or incompetent. "

Or has different priorities, or simply approaches things differently that the "school game" insists on, or takes more academic risks than the average high GPA person (eg choosing courses as electives that they don't necessarily have the same aptitude for as their "core subject", choosing a harder essay topic or project etc etc).

Based on my experiences, I agree with the comment that a high GPA is only an indication of how well a person plays the school game.  (And hey, I had a good GPA, so this isn't "insecurity" talking)

Here's an example: I happen to be good at answering exam questions.  My significant other is not.  As a result, I have a much higher GPA.  However, there are a number of math courses that I would not have passed without help from my SO, who spent many hours explaining to me and others how to do and understand the problems.  When it came to doing the tests, however, I would pass with flying colours, s/he would scrape by.  Not because s/he didn't understand the basics (in fact, s/he uses these principles for work everyday, while I would be unable to recall a single use to save my life), but because the way the tests are formulated (don't apply to "real life" or something). 

Very weird (not to mention frustrating), and tempting to just say that I must be smarter, or work harder - except I would be wrong...

anon
Monday, February 24, 2003

Yes it may be true that some people are good at tests and others are not. I'm good at multiple choice tests and I don't know why. I can acknowledge some very smart people aren't good at them. However being good at tests does not mean a person is a conformist or anything like that (I definitely am not).
Some highly intelligent people have terrible memories, and a good memory is only one component of intelligence.
Also, multiple choice might be hard for some people. And the stress of knowing you're taking a test can either make you concentrate better or can cause your mind to go blank.

The Real PC
Monday, February 24, 2003

My GPA was 2 something, and I have a job. I have never been asked for my GPA by any interviewer.

Actually, my degree is in Psychology, and I'm the lead developer at a Java shop. It's all about networking!

SenorDingdong
Monday, February 24, 2003

PC,

I always found multiple-choice questions to be horrendously difficult. Almost without any exception you never get enough information to be able to determine the correct answer, and from there on it becomes guesswork.
In my experience most examiners using this technique have not really bothered to think about all the different aspects of the question. They seem to have any number of hidden assumptions, put down the so called "correct" answer and quickly add a few "wrong" answers to complete the set. In most cases this results in a situation where you as the person taking the exam are faced with an "A is definetly wrong, B is correct if unstated condition 1 holds, C is correct if unstated condition 1 does not hold, D is correct if condition 1 was completely ignored and the (insert ambiguous formulation here) in the question is interpreted accordign to so and so ....
From that point on it becomes a game of trying to guess what the examiner has thought of and what he just "forgot" about when compiling the test.
Frankly speaking: often it becomes a matter of stooping down to the correct level. Not as easy as it might sound.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, February 24, 2003

Of course there must be many badly written multiple choice tests. The well-known standardized tests are good though, as far as I know.
Maybe being able to take multiple choice tests is just easier for some than others.
Therefore they don't simply measure your intelligence and knowledge -- they also measure your multiple choice ability.
I'm just saying I can understand why some people object to grades and testing, even though it's an advantage for someone like me who is good at tests.

The Real PC
Monday, February 24, 2003

On the contrary, I find multiple choce tests very easy. Almost always you can ace them without much problem. If you have several test samples all you need to do is to thoroughly review them and understand what stands behind. After that you are almost guaranteed to score high. After taking several samples I easily distinguish correct choice from half-correct.

I'm a foreigner and got V580 Q800 A780 on GRE General without much problem (English is not my native language, so verbal part was very challenging, but nonetheless I scored higher than a few Americans, according to ETS bruchure )

On TOEFL the most exigent part was essay - and in my opinion essay is a much better assesment tool than multiple choice test. It's much more difficult to crack former than latter.

smm
Monday, February 24, 2003

"On TOEFL the most exigent part was essay - and in my opinion essay is a much better assesment tool than multiple choice test. "

Ah yes, but I'm very good at writing essays.  Even if I don't remember many of the details (and certainly not enough to pass the multiple choice part), I can usually be creative enough to *sound* like I know what I'm talking about, and get a good mark...

Multiple choice - I only find easy if I'm well-prepared.

MaisOui
Monday, February 24, 2003

If you are trying to compare people objectively, essays aren't so good.
Multiple choice is objective. If the questions and answers are well-written it can evaluate a person's knowledge and/or intelligence. The only problem is there may be intelligent individuals who for some reason can't deal with multiple choice.
I personally like multiple choice, and I don't get test anxiety or anything like that. Therefore I did well in formal education, without feeling I was playing meaningless games. I learned a lot about the subjects, but I have learned a lot more just reading books.
Education is not a waste, imo, even though it is very far from perfect.
I saw the academic system more or less from the inside (as a graduate assistant). The whole system exists for the tenured professors, it seems to me. It mostly sucks for everyone else: junior faculty work like slaves for a mediocre salary, graduate students do all the professors' drudge work for a below-poverty stipend, undergraduates go into debt from astronomical tuition and are often taught by second-rate professors or graduate students (the great professors are too busy with research).
Tenured professors, on the other hand: can't be fired without committing a crime, do not have to work unless they feel inspired, collect a healthy salary, get summers off and long vacations.
The original reason for tenure, I suppose, was to allow genuises freedom from the stress of real life so they concentrate on their great ideas. But it doesn't work. It gets rid of competition and motivation and like all useless traditions will die out, although that may take centuries.
That's what I hate about education. But the ideals and real purposes of education are worthwhile, more worthwhile than just about anything.

The Real PC
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

"Multiple choice is objective ... if the questions and answers are well-written "
I agree. Problem is, outside of Maths I have not encountered many examples of "well-written" multiple choice questionairs.
BTW: Nice characterization of the academic world PC.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

GPA is an indicator of success. It's not *the* indicator of success.

I rarely interview, but when I do, I look at the GPA of inexperienced developers as just part of the entire equation. If they have a poor GPA, can they explain why? How are their problem solving skills? How well can they communicate? Do they have any felonies? Did they dress properly for the interview?

Granted, if some kid comes in with a 2.3 and has a cavalier attitude about it, he's probably not gonna get the job. If another person has the same GPA and busted his butt working during school, shows good skills, etc, etc, then his GPA isn't going to instantly disqualify him.

Go Linux Go!
Wednesday, February 26, 2003

I think GPA is important but it shouldn't be the only factor to consider.  When a company is considering you, all they have to look at is your GPA, and your people skills.  That's not to say that GPA should be the sole condition a potential employer looks at, but consider this.  Having a higher GPA doesnt mean your smarter(although it can), it just means you work harder than the next guy to achieve your goal.  This is very important in a work environment.  All a company is looking for is a hard worker, who understands his/her role, and has good interaction with fellow employees.  And a high GPA is generally a good indication the a potential employee is focused and can perform his/her job.  Just my 2 cents.  By the way,  i might have inexperience against me.  Im only a sophomore at the university of colorado studyin ee, but im just speaking what makes sense to me.  I've generally recieved good grades 3.5 and up, but what's more important to me is grasping the concepts of a class rather than just kissin ass for a good grade.

javasgoodforresumes
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

I recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Computer Science and am having a difficult time getting interviews which I believe is simply a result of not having a GPA of at least 3.0 (my overall is 2.7 & major is 2.9).  I so wish I could go back a couple of years and smack myself silly.  GPA has become quite a trial for me in finding an entry-level programming position.  The only things I have come up with to change is to put in the education section of my resume: 1. That I paid for 25% of my tuition & 2. I worked 20 hrs/week.  Also, I think I need to start including cover letters to every company I apply to.  That's about all I can possibly think of to improve my chances of getting an interview.  I've had 2 companies call me two weeks ago requesting my GPA and then never contacting me again.  As much as I wish GPA didn't matter, I'm no doubt proof that it does.  Trust me that my resume is about as tweaked as it possibly could be and that I know how to play "the game..."  Hopefully that will be enough to get me my first job & past the whold GPA business.

Paul B.
Friday, March 19, 2004

GPA is the measure of ones willingness to do anything to achieve the accepted standard of performance. The accepted standard of performance has little to do with creativity, intelligence, or sublime understanding. People who feel the compulsion to be accepted often have high GPA's, and little originality. The greatest thinkers of all time have been self taught, solitary geniuses locked in their own determined efforts to comprehend, discover, or create. GPA was irrelevent to Albert Einstein, Newton, Picasso, Nietsche, etc. The obsession with Orwellian status quo measures (ie. training monkeys) is only used to ensure heirarchy, (ie. white middle managers working for other white managers). Hypothetical Genius Exercise: Given all the money you will ever need, the resources to pursue what ever interests you, and unlimited time would you: A. Study hard so you can finally get the job you wanted in a corporate adult-sitting facility. B. Pursue Physics on some remote island. C. Drive around in a nice car and score the beautiful ladies/men. D. All of the above and hopefully more because you are curious about everything and love new experiences. Hint: High GPA will not get you laid.

Harry B. Ottom
Monday, July 26, 2004

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