An answer to a recent question about the importance of looking at a student's whole transcript got me thinking. Is there some other way of summing up a student's academic performance, other than the GPA? Something that would distinguish among the three types of 3.5 students described in Jake's answer:
- This student is pretty steady, but not great, and tends to get an even mix of As and Bs across all of their classes, obtaining a 3.5 GPA.
- This student always takes the class with the easiest grading policy whenever they can, and tends to get mostly As in the "easy" classes. When they cannot evade a "hard" class, they get mostly Cs, resulting in a 3.5 GPA.
- This student is very strong and gets mostly As, but there was one semester when family problems disrupted their life, and missed assignments caused them to get Bs and two Fs, also ending up with a 3.5 GPA.
In other words, is there a way of summarizing a student's transcript, that doesn't ignore so many important details?
I suspect that incorporating just class rank doesn't help much (an anecdotal, subjective contribution): my high school allowed one to choose to take classes with credit/no credit (C/NC). I chose to be graded with letter grades for a handful of classes, and received A's in all of those. I suspect this may have been why I graduated with a laughably high class rank.