ERIC Number: ED206040
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Policing the Movement of Modern Education.
Bradford, John A.
The presence of F in the ABCDF grading scale results from the struggle between authoritarian and egalitarian philosophies over how best to support the school work ethic. Authoritarian forces have favored the precise 0-100 scale that centralizes power clearly in the hands of the teacher. Egalitarian forces have supported less precise measures, such as the ABCDE scale. The current ABCDF system represents an informal compromise between these forces. The history of education shows the development of this compromise. As education became more complex, especially in the nineteenth century, it was rationalized and centralized into an age-stratified system wherein power was held by the instructor. High school expansion, parents' desires, college requirements, and the authoritarians' need to motivate students toward the school work ethic led by 1900 to the general use of the 0-100 scale. However, studies during 1910-1915 discredited the claimed objectivity of this method, leading to an egalitarian shift toward more relative scales. During the 1930s the ABCDE scale became accepted, but F was substituted for E because authoritarian forces desired a more emphatic grade to punish failing students and symbolize teachers' power. (RW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Authority; Egalitarianism; Work Ethic
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Sociological Society (37th, St. Louis, MO, April 21-24, 1976).