I worry that this will create stress but it is necessary information: your child’s GPA is likely not as good on a comparative basis as you might think. A few years ago, I told my wife about a trend in a nearby Shoreline, Connecticut school: “I don’t think I’ve met any student from that [unnamed school] with less than a 90 average.” Certainly, most of our clients have parents who are willing to meet with tutors, test prep experts, and college coaches, which means education is emphasized in the home. The Learning Consultants generally meets with very strong students. That’s a partial explanation. But as we began providing more college counseling, I would see the Naviance results of students and note that their stellar 90 plus GPA did not translate to a high class rank.
What does this mean for test scores? It means colleges have noticed this trend as well and more than a few college admissions officers have commented directly to me that test scores matter so much because grade inflation has made comparing students indecipherable.
For example, is there a meaningful difference between a student with a 93 average from Old Lyme and a 91 average from East Lyme? What if the East Lyme student scored a 1300 and the Old Lyme student an 1100 on the SAT? In that case, the college admissions decision will be easy.
Therein lies the problem. Strong students all have averages in the 90s (or A-/As on their transcripts). Test scores become the only meaningful way to differentiate. Another “it is what it is comment” not what I think should be.