Group Proposes High-School Transcripts Without Grades, Courses

Published: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 4:15pm
Updated: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 4:21pm

College-bound students all over the country are getting ready to start taking courses — maybe packing up their things and moving into dorms on college campuses near and far.

But before they could get into college, they had to put together a killer high-school transcript, listing every course they took, their grades, GPA, extracurricular activities. A high-school transcript is likely one of the first things a college admissions officers sees on an application — and it’s crucial in their acceptance.

So what if that transcript in its current form was thrown out altogether? That’s what a group of more than 100 private schools is proposing.

This new transcript would include no grades, no courses, no standardized content across schools; instead, they hope the new transcript will reflect mastery of subjects and growth of student character over time.

The group is called the Mastery Transcript Consortium, and it’s made up of some of the country’s most elite private schools, including Phoenix Country Day School here in the Valley.

To understand this further, I spoke with Patricia Russell, interim director of The Mastery Transcript Consortium.

Detractors say this is about veiled elitism, the time-intensive process and protocol means that prep school students will automatically have an upper hand over any public school student.

And one of those detractors is Gabriel Rossman, associate professor of Sociology at UCLA. He recently wrote an article for the National Review about this titled “Elite High Schools Plot to Undermine College Admissions.”

I asked him what his reservations were about this new transcript idea.

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