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John Hall

If I were in charge of one of these institutions, I would fit a hierarchical IRT model to grades, with groups at least taking into account major and time period each class was taken. Could be used to evaluate the students.


JH: You raised another sore topic that professors are powerless to bring up: the number of As given out is strongly correlated with how students evaluate the course. I wonder if any institution has published such an analysis. It would be embarrassing to see.

The IRT model would be very useful to admissions staff at graduate schools!


Yes, I think the real problem is that graduate admissions are lazy (or maybe want rigid admissions rules to avoid lawsuits) and pretend that you can compare GPAs from competitive elite schools to those at less competitive ones. This puts pressure on the competitive schools to give more As so as to not disadvantage their students.


Dave: "Lazy" and "lawsuit avoiding" are part of it but when you are reading lots of applications, it's hard to have to look at each GPA, correlate with the school, and adjust the numbers on the fly. Plus, the grade distributions at colleges are just not common knowledge. That's why a model that spits out adjusted GPAs would be useful.

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