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Grade Inflation

By rodrigosilvae Mar 31, 2014 1164 Words

Grade Inflation
Former Stanford President Don Kennedy argues the grades themselves don’t matter–what’s important is the academic quality. Kennedy proposes that the letter grade students score in classes is irrelevant but rather the knowledge gained is what really matters (Kennedy). Teachers and student’s themselves have given letter grades a priority in education, losing sight of what is really important. Donald Caruth suggests that there has been an upward shift in grades without a corresponding upward shift in knowledge gained by students (Caruth). These 2 scholar’s proposals compliment each other, young people seem to have better grades but less knowledge to back those grades up with. If there is a notorious increase in grades, Mr. Patrick Moore claims “the public and commercial sectors pay” (Moore) for the effects of grade inflation. While higher grades are an issue for universities, the major issue is the lack of knowledge and skills of students that ends up harming both the public and commercial sectors.

Teachers, faculty, parents and students have been very happy about the overall increase in grades for students, what they don’t realize is that universities hurt the student more than help them. However, an article from Minnesota State University titled “Grade Inflation” written by Richard C. Schiming proposes reasons that have caused grade inflation and he placed grade inflation’s fault entirely on the professors and administrative groups of universities. To start with, Universities need to maintain their enrolled students happy. Some universities use grades as an incentive to make students want to learn and stay happy with the institution. Next, Professors are increasing their attention and sensitivity towards students. The third one, by giving good grades, professors receive good evaluations which helps secure their jobs. The next reason Schiming proposes for the increase in inflated grading is the increased use of subjective or motivational factors in grading: attendance, participation, persistence and effort. The last reason is because of the new faculty attitudes towards grading includes as a vehicle to please students instead of being a recognition or reward for their great performance (Schiming).

The system swindles students into thinking they are great students, but they should be realizing that a letter grade is more than just a symbol; it provides a guarantee for a specific amount of knowledge. This guarantee of knowledge is what companies look for when they hire graduates, and when the guarantee turns out to be false, the college loses their reputation and credibility. This would then have a severe impact on former student’s lives, because it will be extremely hard for them to be able to succeed. Top performers and average performers are a homogeneous mix now a days, it is really hard to make a clear distinction between them. This makes it very difficult for students to stand out from other students and thus for companies to get a hold on the outstanding ones. In the past, there was a numerical scale to divide people in a certain class, today everyone is between the top ten.

Professors should put a stop to grade inflation because of the difficulty faced by students at their workplace by not being able to perform their tasks. Grade inflation may seem harmless and even beneficial for student, but it actually harms them, because of lack of abilities that include job performance, critical thinking strategies and theoretical skills that must have been learned in the University.

In the short run, grade inflation will benefit students who graduate because their grades will intrigue a number of companies, and they will receive interviews. If they have good presentation skills and slickness while interviewing, graduates are prone to receive excellent positions in their fields. However, grade inflation will hurt them because of their lack of skills and their ascent will not be possible. It will be like coming to a dead end. They will need to work twice as hard on the job in order for them to gain the skills needed.

There are several problems that this concern may have. The number one problem that grade inflation carries is the inability of students to reach their maximum potential, if they are receiving “A’s” with mediocre work how will they push their limits and strive to become better in their fields. Grade Inflation undermines what an undergraduate degree means because students are receiving it with half of the knowledge that people from the 80s used to come out with. They are also not lying only to others when speaking about their strengths and weaknesses but also lying to themselves because they think they posses these qualities, when they do not have a complete understanding on where they actually stand. Another problem is this will only continue to get worse on each institution because professors are weakening the standards. It may even come to a point that institutions will have to invent some new strategy to evaluate the performance of their students because the grade letters will have undergone so much inflation.

Students in college, really undermine the fact of studying hard to gain more knowledge, and just get accommodated to receiving high grades based on low performance. This has crippled the education system, causing the it to undermine student potential and the demand for higher achievement in students. Seeing by from a student’s point of view, they pay thousands of dollars for a “first class education” but end up wasting those thousands of dollars on an eroded system. This will eventually harm the other end of the chain which is the work part itself because companies will not be able to find competent people for their positions.

Bain & Company a consulting firm has seen the problems of grade inflation on first hand. As a result, they have had to restructure their hiring process and program. Bain & Company is amongst the top 5 consulting companies in The United States and has a great reputation through out the world. They have now made a strict hiring process that begins with interviews, and ends up with two extremely challenging tests that the majority of their applicants fail. For applicants who pass both exams, they still have several more interviews before they are hired (Calvo). This example of a competitive hiring process is where companies are headed. What will students need to do in order to achieve this is regardless of grade inflation, students must be smarter and look ahead, grades wont get people the job, grades will get people the interview; student’s knowledge will get them the position they deserve.

Work Cited

C, Alvaro. Personal interview. 15 July. 2013.
Caruth, Donald L., and Gail D. Caruth. "Grade Inflation: An Issue For Higher Education?." Turkish Online Journal Of Distance Education 14.1 (2013): 102-110. ERIC. Web. 18 Sept. 2013. Kennedy, Donald. “What Grade Inflation?”. NewYorkTimes. The New York Times. June 13, 1994. Web. 18 September 2013. Moore, Patrick. “Grade Inflation at Public Universities: Who profits? Who pays?”. University of Arkansas. Jun. 15 1994. Web. Sept. 22 2013. Schiming, Richard C. “Grade Inflation”. Minnesota State University. Mankat, Feb. 1 2013. Web. 16 Sept. 2013.

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