(From The Economist‘s 1843Magazine.com):

By Uri Bram

Imagine if marathon runners were ranked simply by taking their average time over every course. Some courses are clearly harder than others, and runners can choose which races to enter, so a runner could always improve her ranking by refusing to run on difficult courses. Even sillier would be to rank runners by their average finish position across all races: a world-class professional could just run against high-schoolers and finish first without even trying.

Strangely, the current system for evaluating American college students manages to achieve this extraordinary level of silliness. Since students can select their own courses, and grades from all courses count equally, they are rewarded for taking easier courses and punished for taking harder ones. A first-year student taking introductory English literature gets exactly equal credit as her classmate who precociously jumps into graduate-level literary analysis.  CONTINUE READING HERE