By Lester H. Hunt
An authoritative and provocative dialogue of the most important matters surrounding grade inflation and its attainable results on educational excellence.
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Extra info for Grade Inflation: Academic Standards in Higher Education
Indeed, some colleges —for example, Hampshire, Evergreen State, Alverno, and New College of Florida—have eliminated grades entirely, as a critical step toward raising intellectual standards. ” Has that policy produced lower-quality teaching and learning? Quite the contrary: Many people say they did not begin to explore ideas deeply and passionately until graduate school began and the importance of grades diminished significantly. If the continued use of grades rests on nothing more than tradition (“We’ve always done it that way”), a faulty understanding of motivation, or excessive deference to graduate school admissions committees, then it may be time to balance those factors against the demonstrated harms of getting students to chase As.
E. 012 Selectivity of Institution Awarding the Bachelor’s Highly selective Selective Nonselective NOTES: (1) Weighted Ns: Class of 1972 = 733k; Class of 1982 = 855k; Class of 1992 = 921k. SOURCES: National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972; High School and Beyond/Sophomore Cohort, NCES 2000-194; NELS:88/2000 Postsecondary Transcript Files, NCES 2003-402. school or department within an institution) will award higher grades to render its mediocre students more competitive in the labor market, creating an “exaggerated representation of underlying fundamentals” analogous to stock analysts’ recommendations or those of reviewers of audio equipment in specialized consumer magazines.
Between 1976 and 1980, women increased their undergraduate enrollment by 21 percent (versus 2 percent for men) and had become a majority of undergraduates. Women continued on this trajectory, increasing their undergraduate enrollment by another 20 percent (versus 8 percent for men) between 1980 and 1990 (Snyder 2004, table 209, p. 258). While women have historically earned higher grades than men, when the pool expanded by as much as it did in the 1980s, women’s average GPA inevitably fell (following statistical conventional wisdom), though it still remained higher than men’s average GPA.