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ERIC Number: EJ782170
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-0009-1383
The Politics of Grade Inflation: A Case Study
Abbott, William M.
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v40 n1 p32-37 Jan-Feb 2008
The author examines the reluctance of most American colleges and universities to address grade inflation. In addressing the problem of grade inflation, the author describes two proposals he made to his faculty's Educational Planning Committee. The first, presented in spring 2002, proposed that two new items be added to each course listed on students' transcripts: the number of students in the course section and the average grade awarded. At the end of the transcript, a cumulative average of all the grades in all of the course sections would be listed alongside the student's own cumulative average. Anyone examining the transcript could thus see how well the student had performed relative to the other students in his or her courses. The author counters the following three objections from faculty colleagues: (1) All students can excel; (2) Academic freedom extends to grading; and (3) We must not disadvantage our students. Following the Academic Council's rejection of the author's transcript-notation measure, he proposed that that the university registrar make available to all department chairs, at the end of every semester (1) the average grade given in each course taught in the department, and (2) the average grade awarded by each department in the school or college for that semester. This second proposal passed the Educational Planning Committee in 2004 but was voted down by the Academic Council. The primary objection was that this information might be used against a professor in the tenure, promotion, or merit-pay processes. The author's experience suggests that anyone seeking to curb grade inflation must, early in the process, thoroughly inform the various constituencies of the ways in which they are collectively harmed by the inflation. (Contains 11 resources.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States