Grading at USNA

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by terp1984, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. terp1984

    terp1984 Member

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    Just wondering if grades are on a bell curve or if you know the material you get what you deserve. What is considered an average GPA versus say a top 10%? I know this may be early, but what the he--.
     
  2. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    Well, I'll offer my perspective from many years ago, although I'm sure a lot of it depends on the particular class and professor. I went to West Point, and nearly all classes were curved, at least after your basic plebe requirements (in which the grading seemed to be more by the book).

    I spent a semester at the Naval Academy as an exchange cadet. First exam we got back in Electrical Engineering (Cables) the professor told the class that the class average was a 45. :eek: Well, normally if this happened at WP, the prof would then go on to say something like say a 40-50 was a C, a 50-70 was a B, and above a 70 was an A. I raised my hand and asked what that meant. The professor replied "Means most of you failed!"

    Incidentally, I worked my rear end off in that class, and barely, barely pulled an 80 (which was the lowest cutoff for a B and was the only one, and the highest grade, in my section). Spent more time on that class than my other 5 classes put together, all of which I got A's in easily. I went back to WP second semester, and got an A+ in Electrical Engineering without ever cracking the book.

    So I guess, at least 20 years ago, it definitely depended!
     
  3. wannabe2013

    wannabe2013 Member

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    They might do it in majors classes, but the 12 week test for Plebe chem average was a 68...no curve.
     
  4. Kero

    Kero Member

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    As has been said it depends on the class, the differential equations final used to always have a average in the 40's, always curved when I was there.

    As for GPA, above a 2.0 with no F's and no more than one D used to mean you were SAT, that may have changed, as for averages I have no idea.
     
  5. aznarkarus

    aznarkarus Member

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    If everyone bombed a test in my classes, I'd expect a curve. The 12-week Chemistry exam did average out to 68, but there was a curve applied to it afterwards.

    The average GPA in the Brigade so far is about 3.0, which is a B. Hope this helps!


    -Ark
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    USNA must be more "generous" today than in my day. In my day, a 3.25 (B+) would put you in the top 15% of the class. The fact is that, at USNA, people really do get Cs and Ds and Fs even though they are really smart and study really hard. For a pool of students who largely have never seen anything below a B, it's an eye-opener. The classes are hard and there's a lot to do other than study.

    During our 2/C year, at the end of 12 weeks of Wires (EE for non-engineering majors), 80% of the class had a D or below. They were looking at so many mids in summer school that they gave a very "straightforward" final -- if you studied and knew the material, you'd get an A. That saved things.

    As I tell my candidates, forget the days when you looked to either side of you on I-Day and one person would be gone by the end of the summer. Now, look to only one side -- one of you will be in the bottom half of the class after 1st semester grades.

    The above is not meant to scare people -- the overwhelming majority of mids obviously make it through to graduation. But, no matter how challenging your h.s. was academically, you will probably have at least some difficulty maintaining your same GPA and class rank at USNA. Part of it is that the pyramid just got smaller and part is that it's a tough school academically.
     
  7. jscam87

    jscam87 Member

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    USNA1985 is giving the exact truth, but don't go jumping ahead of the story and extrapolate a destination that does NOT exist. The fact is that grades are "lower" than many other schools. There was a recent article about Harvard having roughly 90% of the class with an "A" average. Not at Navy. Not now and probably not ever.
    That being said, I have many, MANY USNA classmates who went on to Harvard grad school. Relatively low Grades at Navy do not follow you as a bad thing. I think they used a 1.2 or 1.3 factor to our grades.
    All you have to do is compete with the people around you. The Academic world understands that it is unlike any other school and gives credit. Do NOT worry about your 'grades' other than to understand that you will be going to one of the toughest schools in the world. You are competing with your classmates for class rank. Same application and Nomination process got you all there. If you get through the Appointment process, you CAN pass if you want it. You are competing with people taking the exact same classes, eating the same food, with same clothes, same pay, same computer, etc, etc.. No excuses. A real match race. You are all equal. How well you do is how well you do. If you graduate, that is the reward.
    As with my post about shoe polish, I think you might be getting ahead of yourself unless you have an appointment, but that is just me...
     
  8. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    ^^^^^^

    Very important point. When I was looking at grad school, I was worried my (good for USNA but not good for most colleges) GPA would kill my chances. I was wrong. I don't know if grad schools use a multiplier or if they simply realize that the SAs are "tough graders."

    Your class rank is also provided to grad schools, so if your 3.2 puts you in the top 20% of your SA class, that will demonstrate your academic achievement. Also, grad shools may focus on particular courses. For example, if you're looking at law school or an MBA program, the schools may not care so much how well you did in Seamanship or Weapons Systems Engineering. Finally, they recognize you are carrying many more hours than the average college student (144 vs. 120 on average), are taking all tough courses, and must graduate in 4 yrs. Those things help.

    This is not to say, however, that if you graduate with a 2.1, you're going to have your pick of grad schools just b/c you went to a SA. You might or might not, depending on your other attributes (not to mention that with a low GPA you might have a rough time at SA service selection). However, not having a 3.8 GPA from a SA won't kill you in life.

    As with all things, do your very best. It's all you can do.
     
  9. terp1984

    terp1984 Member

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    Thanks for your candid responses on the grading. That being said, if ones goal is to become a pilot, it appears that the Mid would need to graduate in the top 30-40% to get that assignment. Is there much difference between the class ranks of the 3 Divisions of majors. ie do engineers have significantly lower GPA's making it more difficult to become a pilot or is a non factor.
     
  10. wannabe2013

    wannabe2013 Member

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    Yeah they have lower QPRs but they take care of it. As long as your grades are competitive for your major you shouldn't have to worry about how high your grades are. However, high grades especially in an engineering major could get you sub-drafted...
     
  11. Kero

    Kero Member

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    ^^^^
    Not true, major in what your goood at and what interests you to get the best grades, my engineering classes raised my QPR which was hurt by my required non-engineering classes. Also that 30-40% number seems awfull high, I know a lot of dumb kids that went pilot, the service selections kind of work them selfs out. Plus, academics are only 60% of your overall order of merit.
     
  12. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    Agree with Kero. It isn't as if every single person in the top 30-40% wants to be a pilot. You can be well below the 50% mark and not really sweat getting aviation, unless you put subs as your second choice. As for those dumb kids getting pilot, thank god you don't have to be a genius.
     
  13. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Always liked the A++ personality types for pilots. Never wanted to fly with a dumb one. If it is a single seater I don't care what his IQ is. With thirty or forty in the back plus crew I want the smart one.:thumb:
     
  14. Kero

    Kero Member

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    IMO the smart ones go that way naturally.
     
  15. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    Harsh crowd.
     

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