Random Question: Do Schools Game GPA Distributions to Max Out Number of Median Students?

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nouseforaname123

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Random Question: Do Schools Game GPA Distributions to Max Out Number of Median Students?

Postby nouseforaname123 » Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:43 am

Title says it all. I'm not part of my firm's interview team this year but I was going to ask OCS at my alma mater exactly how many students are at or above the median in any given year.

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thesealocust

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Re: Random Question: Do Schools Game GPA Distributions to Max Out Number of Median Students?

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jul 31, 2016 11:09 am

Most schools wind up with a fairly normal distribution. Often people estimate their class ranks using published data on median/topX% and general statistical truths/principals/magic, and those estimates tend to be pretty close when real rankings come out, which implies minimal fluffing on the part of the schools.

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Re: Random Question: Do Schools Game GPA Distributions to Max Out Number of Median Students?

Postby registering » Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:34 pm

I don't think the schools can actually game the system to maximize the number of students that are at median, but they game the system in the sense that they won't tell you or their students what their median actually is. They might curve to a 3.3, but it's a guessing game whether the median is a little higher, or a little lower than that. There are always going to be people with low grades that manage to do extremely well in one class, and people who otherwise have stellar grades that drop a B in another class. Maybe that averages out, maybe it doesn't. The ambiguity is enough to maybe let people who had a 3.25 claim to be median on a 3.3 curve, but it doesn't take much to realize that someone at a 3.1 or less is probably well below median.

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Re: Random Question: Do Schools Game GPA Distributions to Max Out Number of Median Students?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:57 pm

Fair enough. I've never actually seen GPA distibutions for any school.

I asked because last year during recruiting season it dawned on me that some students only reported GPAs to the hundredth decimal point where as others reported to the thousandth decimal point. If schools sign off on it and only report a median to the hundredth decimal point, a few additional students get to be at or above the median (and any other relevant cutoff point) as compared to reporting out to the thousandth decimal place.



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