ERIC Number: ED384384
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Jun
"A" Is for Average: The Grading Crisis in Today's Colleges.
Farley, Barbara L.
According to recent research, from Ivy League universities to community colleges only between 10% and 20% of students receive grades lower than a "B-," while the most frequently given grade is an "A." Causes of this grade inflation can be found in students' objections to receiving "D's" and "F's" after paying high tuitions and even the well-meaning intentions of faculty who feel that low grades demoralize students. The issue is especially acute for community colleges, as many students have borderline skills and motivation for continuing their education. Recommendations that have been proposed to reduce grade inflation include the following: (1) persuading faculty to regard "C+"/"B-" as the appropriate median grade; (2) noting median grades and class sizes next to course grades on students' transcripts; (3) indexed grading, where letter grades would be changed to two-number values, the first corresponding to the quality points assigned to student performance and the second to the average grade assigned by that professor for the semester, course, and section; (4) simply grading in tenths of a point from 0.0 to 4.0; (5) replacing the system of letter/number grades with word-based evaluations; and (6) using daily grades received through pop quizzes or short writing assignments. The essential ingredient in any grading policy, however, is that information on criteria be effectively communicated before a course begins. (Contains 8 exhibits and 18 references.) (KP)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Princeton Univ., NJ. Mid-Career Fellowship Program.
Note: In its: Issues of Education at Community Colleges: Essays by Fellows in the Mid-Career Fellowship Program at Princeton University; see JC 950 341.