Inverse Relationship Between GPA and Innovative Orientation


Tech Impact's program, ITWorks, is an award winning 16-week job training program that changes lives.

ITWorks offers free, immersive IT training to young adults, motivated high school graduates, 18-26 years old, who have not yet completed a Bachelor’s degree. Students earn a professional certification in IT and a real-world internship inside leading corporations and nonprofits.


Why Google Doesn’t Ask for Transcripts or Test Scores

In contrast to all this concern about grades, here is what Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, had to say in a NYT interview about Google’s hiring practices and experiences: “One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that GPA’s [grade point averages] are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless…. Google famously used to ask everyone for a transcript and GPA’s and test scores, but we don’t anymore, unless you’re just a few years out of school. We found that they don’t predict anything.”


Research Showing a Negative Correlation Between Grades and Innovative Orientation

Increasingly, controlled research studies are also showing no correlation, or even an inverse correlation, between college GPA and innovative orientation or ability. Matthew Mayhew and his colleagues at NYU conducted a major study. In which they surveyed thousands of college seniors, at five different institutions of higher education, with a battery of psychological tests and questionnaires.  One of their major findings was an inverse relationship between students’ reported GPA and their orientation toward creative or innovative work.  The higher the grade point average, the lower was the students’ interest in innovation. 


Some Further Evidence

Our educational system was designed for a different age, a time when jobs required rote performance and unquestioning obedience, where innovative thinking was considered to be unnecessary or even a liability for the majority of people.  Ironically and tragically, rather than adapt our educational system to the needs of our modern times we have doubled down on the old system, so it is harder today than ever before for young people to retain and build upon their natural curiosity and creativity.  For the time being, I think, employers may be well advised to seek out those who have bucked the system rather than those who have kowtowed to it.  More and more employers are beginning to do so.

Have technology questions or want to learn more about how Tech Impact can help your nonprofit?