Mister Average here….

This looks like another fun thing to do, so why not?


The prompt this week is “average.” Another word for the average is the mean. Calculating it and the standard deviation are the first two things you learn in statistics classes. Shan already talked about the bell curve, so I’m not going to bother with that.

I always had average grades in high school and college, after having been one of the top students in grammar school. Drove my mother nuts. “Why are you getting so many C’s, Johnny? You got all A’s and B’s in grammar school!”

In high school, we were assigned a level based on where we were placed. The higher the level of the class, the more a grade of C meant. If you were in a 3-level class, your grade was multiplied by 1.2, so a C (=2, B=3, A=4, D=1, and F=0) was more like a C plus. In a 4-level class, your grade was multiplied by 1.5, so a C was like a B. An AP class gave you a multiplier of 1.8, making a C a B plus or A minus. So, my raw grade-point average might have been 2.0, but the weighted average was more like 3.2.

Hey, it got me into Northwestern.

When I got there, the letter grades weren’t weighted, so my GPA was a little above 2. But, given that Northwestern was such a good school (HA!), a C there was like a B everywhere else. So really, it’s all relative.

Well, kinda. My grades were indicative of the fact that I really didn’t care. I was unusually bright (according to my mother), and maybe that saved me.

Saved me? Weird… Saved me from what? Bad grades? They really don’t mean anything once you’re out of school. It’s a game. “I got five A’s.” Great! Want a cookie?

Really. C is average, meaning the work you produce is average relative to everything else. That’s the way school thinks. If ten kids get A’s and B’s, ten have to get get D’s and F’s. Everyone else gets a C. Remember when you used to ask, “Are you going to grade on the curve?” That’s the curve.

If you were to plot intelligence against grade-point average, you’d probably get a weak correlation between the two. They know that. That’s statistics. It’s all based on statistics.

How’d I di?

8 thoughts on “Mister Average here….

  1. So. I had the opposite kind of grading in high school. Even though I didn’t know it at the time, they awarded extra gpa for college prep classes. So my gpa was 4.25 at graduation. Because once I escaped from gym class, I had straight A’s the last two years with minimal effort.

    And in college, I got all A’s and B’s except for one lousy C in the first semester of my senior year. Took my gpa down to 3.49 and cost me a cum laude. And I am still bitter over it. Oh man. So cranky about the whole thing.


    1. Practically the same thing happened to Mary. She missed magna cum laude by percentage points because she got a C in a sociology class that she needed to take for her major in psychology. She finished college in 3 years (I finished in 3 1/2); another good semester would have neutralized the C and given her magna cum laude.


  2. Wow. Being able to figure all that out, you deserved to get into Northwestern! Haha. Nicely done, John. It felt truly like stream of consciousness writing, which I love, because it’s just like chatting, you know?
    Thanks so much for participating this week! πŸ˜€


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