Grade inflation on Midmorning

Update: Interesting program.

A few snippets —

  • If profs give easier A’s they get higher ratings from students, which is a main way schools track faculty teaching. So it’s a perverse incentive.
  • Administrators feel similar pressure. The emphasis on student recreation — the full college experience — is up. So administrators feel pressure not to make the academic experience too difficult or time-consuming.
  • There’s grade inflation across the board, but it’s more prevalent at top-tier and private universities. Also, professors get more flack from students when they give lower grades. At research universities, all that flack takes time away from research. So it’s often easier to bump up a grade and get on with your real work.

Just click on the link below to read the live-blogging transcript.

A’s for everyone? The problem of grade inflation on college campuses

A high GPA is a lot easier to come by than it used to be thanks to grade inflation. What’s wrong with an easy A? Well, when every class is an easy A students do less work and a 4.0 tells potential employers nothing about a student’s actual ability.

Philip Babcock: associate professor of economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has just published a study on grade inflation.
Andrew Perrin: Professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina. He is the chairman of the committee at UNC to implement a fuller grading spectrum.
  • rose

    There is a lot of evidence (not just anecdotes) to indicate that higher education (and feeder schools) has produced a dummied down version of graduates. There are a lot of reasons and figure pointing to indicate why this has occurred and will continue to occur. An additional consequence is that certifying bodies such as the AICPA (and other certifying bodies) have dummied down entrance requirements and exams.

    In my opinion, this is in response to a variety of social chances. I’ve seen these phenomena evolve since the 1960s and I’m sure older generations will say they’ve seen it from the 1940s or 1900s, etc.

    The questions that need to be asked are whether the results are a determent to our standard of living. For cross cultural comparison, I suggest establishing an “educational health vitality index” made up of many different components.

    As for the grading issue, in US society, it may no longer be relevant. A degree or certification can be bought, in that there is no limit to how many times an SAT or AICPA or other certification exam can be taken. It is only a question of time and money.

    I have knowledge and experience with this issue and have thought about it a lot. I have opinions and suggestions and would be happy to provide them if asked.