Academic sliding scale

As a result of several conversations and an email that I recieved from the med school this week (whatever you do, don’t let me get started on the med school or the quality or content of it’s communiques to us scum of the school underlings), I came to the disturbing realisation of how academically pointless any grades or subsequent academic transcripts from a UQ degree are.

Now this isn’t as big a deal to me as it might have been a few years ago, as I have come to realise that in the eyes of the med school (and it’s assessment department) I will never be anything more than an “also ran”, middle-of-the-pack med student, but I will still come out a perfectly functional doctor, and so I stopped caring about trying for the grades that both my appathy, the atrociously written and abysmally marked assessment, and the frankly bizarre bell curves were never going to allow me to attain.

See it turns out that the University of Queensland does not use a standard grading scale. So the percentage pass mark to achieve a 7 in one department or degree can be completely different from the percentage pass mark necessary to get a 7 in any other department or degree. Worse still (which arose in one of the interesting email from the med school) the grade to achieve a 7 within a single degree does not even have to be consistent from year to year, so that in med you have to get a higher percentage pass mark to get a 7 in year 3 than you do in year 4…

This doesn’t even superficially make any sense. Particularly when you consider that they were so finickety about working out your GPA (the average grade you got during your degree) to get into med in the first place. When a GPA of 7, or 5.5 or whatever it is does not actually correspond to any meaningful value or standard, what is the point in asking for it at all. They can (and in spite of their assertions to the contrary, quite clearly seem to) bell curve the marks to their hearts delight to get the necessary grade distribution, but they should at least then apply it to a grade scale that actually means something.

I suppose that the only real consolation, as mentioned before, is that we will all graduate as doctors (barring major stuff ups), will all get equivalent jobs (even if the equivalence is that we all will get equally treated as scut monkeys), and will all get onto training programs where they rely on personal references for selection, and don’t even ask for a GPA.