Blogs > Liberty and Power > MORE ON GRADE INFLATION

Dec 27, 2003 1:43 am


Thanks, David, for the kind mention of our article at SCSUScholars on grade inflation. We've been concerned about this for quite some time. The issue for us is much worse, as I wrote earlier today:

When I first came to SCSU, students could retake classes to improve their grades and only the highest grade appeared on the transcript. Now, at least, if a student retakes a course the lower grade remains on the transcript. But like Alabama, it does not count in the student's GPA. Since students need a 2.0 to graduate, it is not altogether unusual to find students with a 1.9x retaking a course in which they already had a 'C' to try to buy up to a better grade to bring their GPA up to the standard. Or is that 'standard'?

As I've argued before, the larger issue is the fact that the courses students take nowadays are from departments that cannot enforce grading standards because there are no content-based learning objectives. The common denominator in these course objectives (try this one, for example) are phrasings such as"define and identify multiple perspectives","to expose and identify unexamined values". I simply do not know how one gets a D in this type of course, and from the grade distribution reports, neither do the people who teach the courses.

It's worth remembering this survey from NAS last year that compared knowledge of current college seniors and high school graduates from fifty years ago. The comparison is not flattering.

Thanks, too, David, for the mention of the Minnesota Scholar.

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