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MEADORS: Does GPA have meaning anymore?

Employers are losing faith in the American grade point average.

Grade inflation meets reality check for an overdue correction. Welcome to the new American marketplace — brutal, competitive, bumpy at best.

According to the Wall Street Journal a 2012 study of 1.5 million students from 200 U.S. colleges and universities found the percentage of A’s given by teachers tripled between 1940 and 2008.

Google Inc. calls GPA a false predictor of an employee’s ability to perform well. Proctor & Gamble like General Mills have long formulated their own job applicant exams.

TIME reports 36 percent of college graduates in a 2011 study showed no significant cognitive gains over four years. One-half of employers surveyed admitted trouble finding qualified college graduates to hire. But the A’s keep coming.

The U.S. trails South Korea, Canada, and Russia in global rankings on higher education attainment, lags Finland, Singapore, and Japan in science and technology research, and slips to 4th behind Singapore, Finland, and Sweden in 2011 global rankings on innovation and competitiveness.

With the recent delivery of 2013 SAT scores College Board president and Common Core architect David Coleman issued a call to action. U.S. schools aren’t graduating college-ready students.

The U.S. Armed Services concur.

A 2009 Education Trust report found one-fourth of students seeking entrance to the U.S. military failed entrance exams.

At the same time American young people in public schools surface for air from the quagmire of integrated math, a painful American experiment robbing trigonometric foundations sufficient to perform SAT math from a cohort of students. It is a stark reminder that toying with classroom instruction has lifetime consequences for students, changing career and income trajectories for many.

Then there’s Common Core. For the Left it is the death of humanities and the arts, killing creative writing in American schools. The Right rails against one-size-fits-all minimum competencies and agenda-laden social sciences channeling “Animal Farm” hysteria. The happiest bunch in this mix are drunk on dollar signs in a race to the trough while a recent Gallup poll shows a whopping 60 percent of the American public are clueless as to what it is. That, argues noted education critic Diane Ravitch, makes us all “guinea pigs” as we try an “unknown new program at the same time” on a national scale.

Taxpayer skepticism of the doctors of education reaches crescendo.

Nationally normed tests, proficiency profiles, the Graduate Record Exam, and ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate won’t go away as waves of reform grant impetus for putting the American GPA on trial. Curved and inflated grades move the quest for the best test center stage. More than 25 percent of surveyed employers used the GRE to make hiring decisions in the spring of 2013. Some job-hunters even post their GRE national percentile on their resumes.

So where does this leave students eager for college life with low, if any, SAT scores? What will ultimately go on their resumes to compete with students posting 97th GRE percentiles?

Chock full of A’s they’ve turned their tassels; have we turned our backs?

Jeff Meadors has served in elected and appointed positions in education, on advisory boards in Newton, Rockdale, and Walton counties, and writes an occasional column for the Citizen. He may be reached at pjeffreymeadors@gmail.com