Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Follow-Up on Grade Inflation

As a follow-up to my report on grade inflation at Harvard, I see that the reliable Mark Bauerlein has a proposal for flagging grade inflation. It would not necessarily curb it but would provide a reliable way to spot it. He proposes that transcripts provide not only the grade students received in the course but also the average grade received in the course. Prospective employers and admissions committees can see that a student who receives a B+ when the average grade is a C is preferable to one who receives an A- when the average grade is an A.

Of course, it is perfectly possible that in a small upper division course where all three students are bright and hard-working that all of them might deserve their A grades. This proposal would not help them as they would look almost the same as the overflowing introductory course for college athletes (what they called a "gut" course at Yale) where students receive an A for enrolling. Still, it might be helpful and can be done with only additional computer coding by the registrar's office. It is a practical approach to a perennial problem.