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Grade Deflation

000ike
Posts: 11,196
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12/14/2013 7:57:30 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I don't see why people advocate the latter. Every student must strive to understand the course material to the fullest extent, and all that can deserve an A. If that means that the average grade is an A, then so be it. To create a system in which you must do better than others, regardless of how well you're doing objectively, only puts students at a disadvantage. You can't count on graduate schools and employers recognizing what a C means at X University - and even if they do, surely there's some subtle psychological bias against the grade. And moreover, if everyone is already achieving at a high level, the determination of better and worse becomes subjective (especially when it comes to written work) - that's obviously not a fair and consistent way to evaluate a student's performance.

So why should there ever be such a thing as grade deflation?
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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12/14/2013 8:19:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Oh, the title should be inflation v. deflation. This is what I was referring to when I said "latter".
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,255
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12/14/2013 8:45:07 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/14/2013 7:57:30 AM, 000ike wrote:
I don't see why people advocate the latter. Every student must strive to understand the course material to the fullest extent, and all that can deserve an A. If that means that the average grade is an A, then so be it. To create a system in which you must do better than others, regardless of how well you're doing objectively, only puts students at a disadvantage. You can't count on graduate schools and employers recognizing what a C means at X University - and even if they do, surely there's some subtle psychological bias against the grade. And moreover, if everyone is already achieving at a high level, the determination of better and worse becomes subjective (especially when it comes to written work) - that's obviously not a fair and consistent way to evaluate a student's performance.

So why should there ever be such a thing as grade deflation?

A student who demonstrates mastery in a course should receive an A, regardless of his relation to his peers. I think where grade deflation is necessary is in redefining what constitutes A level, B level, C level work. There has been a trend for teachers to give higher grades than they did in the past. Whether this is a consequence of less strict grading or better student performance isn't really relevant. If students really are grasping the material better than they used to, then it should be made more difficult to keep consistent with this development. A good well-rounded distribution of grades reflects a proper level of difficulty and proper standards for assessment.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,255
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12/14/2013 9:04:01 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/14/2013 7:57:30 AM, 000ike wrote:
I don't see why people advocate the latter. Every student must strive to understand the course material to the fullest extent, and all that can deserve an A. If that means that the average grade is an A, then so be it. To create a system in which you must do better than others, regardless of how well you're doing objectively, only puts students at a disadvantage. You can't count on graduate schools and employers recognizing what a C means at X University - and even if they do, surely there's some subtle psychological bias against the grade. And moreover, if everyone is already achieving at a high level, the determination of better and worse becomes subjective (especially when it comes to written work) - that's obviously not a fair and consistent way to evaluate a student's performance.

So why should there ever be such a thing as grade deflation?

Essentially, if many students are receiving legitimate As in a class, then some students have the capacity to exceed its difficulty. This should be accommodated for with harder material which meets their needs, and should be recognized as such when a certain portion of the class retains an A grade.
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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12/14/2013 12:32:00 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/14/2013 7:57:30 AM, 000ike wrote:
I don't see why people advocate the latter. Every student must strive to understand the course material to the fullest extent, and all that can deserve an A. If that means that the average grade is an A, then so be it. To create a system in which you must do better than others, regardless of how well you're doing objectively, only puts students at a disadvantage. You can't count on graduate schools and employers recognizing what a C means at X University - and even if they do, surely there's some subtle psychological bias against the grade. And moreover, if everyone is already achieving at a high level, the determination of better and worse becomes subjective (especially when it comes to written work) - that's obviously not a fair and consistent way to evaluate a student's performance.

So why should there ever be such a thing as grade deflation?

Much of the impetus for relative grading is to prevent professors who are too demanding from handing out Cs as the highest grade.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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12/22/2013 1:15:26 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
In college at least there is no fixed requirement for how much material should be in a course or how difficult it should be. A course can be designed to that the test average is 50 and there is nice bell curve of test grades. The virtue of that is that even the best students will find challenging material, and even the worst will get some things right.

Grade inflation or deflation comes in mapping the numerical test scores to letter grades. There are enormous incentives for grade inflation. In may schools, professors are graded by students as to who is best. Funny thing, easy grades from profs get terrific reviews from students. Schools want their students to be admitted to grad schools. That's helped by producing a lot of A students. Also, schools want to attract students, and that happens if students get good grades without much work.

Grade inflation has reached preposterous heights. The book, "Academically Adrift" gives data based upon uniform testing. It's not a pretty picture. The very best schools are still maintaining standards, but grade deflation would restore equity to much of the rest of higher education.
2-D
Posts: 226
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12/30/2013 11:31:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/22/2013 1:15:26 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
In college at least there is no fixed requirement for how much material should be in a course or how difficult it should be. A course can be designed to that the test average is 50 and there is nice bell curve of test grades. The virtue of that is that even the best students will find challenging material, and even the worst will get some things right.

Grade inflation or deflation comes in mapping the numerical test scores to letter grades. There are enormous incentives for grade inflation. In may schools, professors are graded by students as to who is best. Funny thing, easy grades from profs get terrific reviews from students. Schools want their students to be admitted to grad schools. That's helped by producing a lot of A students. Also, schools want to attract students, and that happens if students get good grades without much work.

Grade inflation has reached preposterous heights. The book, "Academically Adrift" gives data based upon uniform testing. It's not a pretty picture. The very best schools are still maintaining standards, but grade deflation would restore equity to much of the rest of higher education.

I remember my physics I & II Professor. He was challenging and the average grade was around 30-45% on each test curved to a C. There was always one student that scored in the 90s... it wasn't me. I'm glad I was often challenged and the students that aren't are having a terrible time getting jobs out of college. When grades are inflated the degrees, of course, lose their value.