OP-ED: Instead of Abolishing Median Grades Let’s Switch to Using Lower Quartile Grades But Not Tell Anyone

Following Cornell’s decision not to compile median grades for the 2020 Spring Semester, critics have been emboldened in their vocal opposition to the practice, which is designed to curb grade inflation and compare students’ performance to that of their peers. 

Personally, I never understood why they put median grades on our transcripts in the first place. It doesn’t really seem fair that you can bust your hump for four years of high school to get into Cornell, only to be discriminated against in the grad school application process because of all the other big fish nerds in the academic pond. I don’t want anyone to know how easy Oceanography was—if we didn’t have median grades it could plausibly sound like a difficult science class. 

So, while I applaud the motives of the anti-median grades crowd, I think their idea could be much improved. We should simply replace the “median” grade value, which represents the midpoint of the grades, with the “lower quartile” value, which represents the 25th percentile of the data. The only caveat to this ingenious idea is that the switch would have to be made on the down-low, because obviously, if word got out, that would totally defeat the purpose. 

Everyone would benefit from this fantastic idea because the change would make students’ grades look better and all of those foolish grad schools and employers would be none the wiser. Cornell would love it too because all of its alumni would become more successful. It’s a win-win! 

The best part is that even if you end up in the bottom quarter of the grade distribution, you can still rest easy with the knowledge that anyone who views your transcript will view you as a studious individual who did their best in what was clearly a difficult class, instead of just a run-of-the-mill Epsilon-Minus Semi-Moron. Beat the actual median? Now you look like a modern day Albert Einstein! 

So there you have it folks. Now that I’ve outlined my bold new vision I have only one question: Did I just fix grade inflation, end the coronavirus, and save your entire future in one fell swoop? I think so. Sound off in the facebook comments, make a change.org petition, and make sure to send this to your various club GroupMes so that I can further my own pursuit of clout.

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