ERIC Number: EJ1025039
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Demystify Learning Expectations to Address Grade Inflation
Hodges, Linda C.
College Teaching, v62 n2 p45-46 2014
This article describes the subject of "grade inflation," a reference to educators giving higher grades to student work than their expectations for student achievement warrant. Of the many reasons why this practice happens, Hodges specifically discusses inflating grades as "a natural consequence" when the faculty really "don't" have clear expectations for student achievement--when faculty do not exactly know what caliber of work they should expect from students or how best to communicate those expectations to their students. In this commentary, Hodges offers thoughts on addressing these challenges: (1) as a community of scholars educators need to identify the kinds of thinking and skills that their disciplines value; and (2) a need to clearly describe what level constitutes satisfactory achievement of those goals. Sharing the vision of what constitutes quality work with students helps make teaching more democratic. Hodges suggest developing a rubric that truly captures the rich nuances inherent in quality work. She also adds that this will pay off for years to come because it holds students to higher standards of work. The grading burden imposed by more demanding assignments is reduced because rubrics speed grading. Instances of student criticism about fairness are lessened because rubrics make grading more consistent. Hodges concludes that the consequences of using rubrics make grade inflation less likely; allows faculty to guide their students into producing higher quality work; assigns student grades that reflect levels of real accomplishment; and enables students to begin to understand the nature of work. Grading then is no longer a secret rite of the professoriate, but rather a shared communal vision for guiding students into the discipline.
Descriptors: College Faculty, College Students, Grade Inflation, Scoring Rubrics, Standards, Expectation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A