Blogs > Liberty and Power > An Epidemic of A's at the University of Alabama

Mar 18, 2005 10:22 am

An Epidemic of A's at the University of Alabama

The Crimson White has an article on the high percentage of A's in lower-level undergraduate courses at the University of Alabama.

While the article has some devastating information, the article has some errors. Our report on Grade Distortion never claimed that the College of Education had the highest increase in the percentage of A's only that it had and continues to have one of the highest percentage of undergraduate A's on campus. Unfortunately, the article did not mention the high percentage of A's in Women's Studies (nearly 80 percent of entry level undergraduate grades!).

The article also lets go unanswered the administration's claim that grade distortion (the combination of inflation and disparities between disciplines) results from higher ACT Scores. For example, it does not cite our correspondence with Bob Ziomek, director of ACT program evaluation. He stated that that the “ACT average doesn’t explain the whopping increase in A’s being awarded. ACT scores are fairly flat while the number of A’s and B’s being awarded are out of sight.” Here is the Crimson White article:

A report by two UA professors indicates that the percentage of A's awarded in undergraduate courses has increased dramatically over the last 30 years. But getting to the University grade information itself is difficult.

Grade inflation has become an issue at universities across the nation, but David Beito, an associate political science professor, and Charles Nuckolls, an anthropology professor, said UA officials are not addressing what could be a growing problem.....

Beito and Nuckolls reported great difficulty in obtaining the information about student grades, and they said administrators are trying to cover up the University's grade inflation problem.

"This is a public institution," Nuckolls said."One would think that the public could get the numbers. This should be an issue of accountability."

Beito and Nuckolls said they would like to see reports on student grades published regularly and possibly posted on the Internet. Provost Judy Bonner said there are no plans to post grades.

"It is not anything that I would like to see available," Bonner said."It is not useful to anyone."

Read the rest here

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