Point vs. Counterpoint

Counterpoint: Should Class Averages and Ranks be Posted on Transcripts?

Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

In an educational system where testing isn’t standardized between schools or even between classes, a little context would be really helpful in accurately detailing where you stand as a student. However, when a transcript has a more immediate impact on your future job opportunities, especially as an already under-qualified co-op student who can only work for four months at a time, the positives may outweigh the negatives in this case.

When it comes to students who are already in a very competitive environment come time to apply for jobs, the inclusion of these items into your transcript can severely help or hinder your application. However, the problem is that this inclusion would only benefit the top 10% of the class while the other 90% are left to suffer this added obstacle. Furthermore, this adds to the already high pressures to perform well academically as it affects your co-op possibilities to a greater extent.

While the discussion stands on the type of students present in Waterloo Engineering, it is safe to say that everyone is well-rounded and highly capable of performing most tasks in jobs relating to their field. Therefore, there really isn’t a difference in capability when an assessment is being made between the person who achieves a term average of 80% and 90%. Conversely, if students are unlucky to have a course load that plays more to their weaknesses than strengths, they may be discounted as potential candidates for a job because of the fact that they did not perform well compared to previous terms. Even more disconcerting is when a student has to deal with more than just school. For example, dealing with finances or family issues can deal a heavy blow to the mental capacity of student (especially when they are supposed to excel in their studies).

In the case of students, the actual abilities between them cannot be distinguished by those who achieve between 80% or 90% in any class. However, employers may be inclined to look at a transcript exclusively (as it now has context especially with rankings) and discount any other attributes  that may paint a more honest picture of the student. Seeing as employers have to sift through a hundred applications, they may be tempted to disregard the student’s resumé and focus on the numbers present on the transcript. Imagine a prospective employer entering these figures into a data sheet and only choosing to interview those who had the best grades. Unfortunately, this  completely disregards the students who are taking on multiple projects and have acquired a more diverse skill set than their counterparts just mentioned.

When hiring students, like hiring others in the workforce, a combination of factors is what makes a person a good fit to work in a company. When adding these extra statistics into the mix, you may hire the person who is most successful academically (who may not be the smartest, in some cases) but may not be the best fit for the working atmosphere or dynamic for the job.

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