The dangers of grade inflation for young America

posted at 9:11 pm on June 1, 2012 by Amy Lutz

Congratulations, young America, you’ve reached the threshold of academic perfection. Recent studies have shown that an “A” is now the most common grade for college students in the United States. It’s nice to know that my generation is so well educated. Or perhaps not. Based upon a mountain of contradictory evidence and the environment I see all around me as an American college student, I hesitate to declare victory too soon. When you dig deeper the facts show that grade inflation is what really fuels our college students’ higher GPAs, and A today might be equivalent to a C forty years ago.

Despite the outward appearances of academic perfection, today’s students are not on an upward trajectory toward academic success. Last year, a USA Today report showed that college students make little academic progress in their first two years of college. In fact, 45 percent of students showed no significant gains, a figure which contradicts academia’s goal of educating students. College Students are more likely to focus on their social lives rather than their academic record. Professors caught up with their own research are less likely to pay attention to such habits. Additionally, students spend 50 percent less time studying now than they have in past decades. Fifty percent of students also said that they had never taken a class in which they wrote more than 20 pages in a semester. Good study habits must be developed early through hard work and challenging courses for academic success to be achievable. Even though grades may superficially be rising, good academic habits which produce long term success are lacking among today’s college students.

According to Craig Brandon, author of The Five-Year Party: How Colleges Have Given up on Educating Your Child and What You Can Do about It, educators have switched their main priority from education to retention. Because of the information boom of the last few decades, students are forced to grapple with an exponentially larger knowledge base. Today, with our advanced technology and record keeping systems, the amount of knowledge we have at our fingertips is seemingly infinite. The only way educators have so far determined to solve this issue is to focus more on memorization instead of instilling skills like critical thinking. Most students today are forced to memorize facts, equations, and theories instead of actually learning about them. Sure, their grades show the fruits of their efforts, but real education is deficient.

Grade inflation may also be a symptom of the “Participation Trophy” mentality that is increasingly prevalent in our society. In a article published by Minnesota State University, two suspected causes of grade inflation are “increased attention and sensitivity to personal crisis situations for students” and a “changing mission” directed as service or research rather than teaching. It’s important for universities to focus on creating well-rounded individuals. Some students do require extra help/time because of family crises or mental/physical health. However, education should still be a school’s primary focus. We are far too concerned with the feelings of students that some have undershot the goal of education. Inflated GPAs do nothing more than numb students from failure. Failure is a benchmark on the road to success. Where is the motivation to do better if you have no failure in your frame of reference? Inflated GPAs and weak grading standards only help to make failure (and conversely, success) more difficult to pinpoint.

Today’s college students are in for a rude awakening when we enter the job market. Numbed from failure and confident in an inflated GPA, many students will be slapped in the face with the prospect of failure. College should not only provide us with a good education; it should also prepare us for the real world (without sacrificing the education part of course). Failure is a part of life. GPAs don’t matter as much if they are all the same. An “A” isn’t an “A” when everyone has one. Educators need to face the fact that all students are different. Some can study for hours without learning a single thing while others breeze pass finals without opening their textbook. To deny this reality denies the intellectual diversity of college students.

It’s true that the cream rises to the top. Grades are an indicator of this future success if they are accurate. However, when they are not and grade inflation occurs, it’s more difficult for outstanding job applicants to separate themselves from the pack. I myself will be looking for a job in a year and it scares me that having a high GPA just won’t cut it anymore. Constantly, I find myself asking: “Am I doing enough to prepare myself for the workforce?”  I’m worried that the increase of grade inflation will make it difficult for college students like me to avoid falling into the deep abyss of unemployment.

Original Post on The Blaze

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Grade inflation is an unsurprising expected extrapolation of an already decades long trend.

I have worked with college graduates who could not…

1) write a more than a two sentence email that was coherently rational and communicated anything useful other than “we have a problem and must call a meeting”…
2) solve a simple problem using information available in a technical manual after being told exactly what chapter to read…
3) could not perform simple arithmetic calculations in their head revealing the fairly obvious conflict between two numbers that could not both be correct.

Soon such people may be A average students.

College is the new high school, or maybe even the new grade school, or maybe not even that.

The “good” news is they will know all about the civil rights movement, Japanese internment in WW II, “Robber Barons”, the evils and excesses of the free market, how burning fossil fuels is destroying the planet, etc..

Our Republic may be doomed.

farsighted on June 1, 2012 at 9:12 PM

I would still fail Astronomy, even with today’s grading system.

Flange on June 1, 2012 at 9:12 PM

A continuation of public high school?

MeatHeadinCA on June 1, 2012 at 9:16 PM

According to Craig Brandon, author of The Five-Year Party: How Colleges Have Given up on Educating Your Child and What You Can Do about It, educators have switched their main priority from education to retention.

Having worked at two universities in the past, I wholeheartedly concur. Fed and state funding are poured into retention, for retention’s sake.

4Grace on June 1, 2012 at 9:18 PM

I teach in a humanities/social sciences program at a Big Ten university. The kids are nice kids, but they have been negligently (criminally?) un-prepared for the academic part of undergraduate life. They do not read—not literature, not history, not philosophy, barely any pleasure reading—therefore they have little perspective on life’s passages, or the perspectives of others. My colleagues, generally speaking, treat undergrads as a necessary evil, as they compete for the best grad students (i.e., research slaves), and troll for grant money to pursue largely superficial or obvious research projects. Most of my teaching winds up as remedial. Students expect an A (or even an B) just for showing up, and are insulted when informed that they are no longer in high school, and grades are earned, not entitled. Eventually, by the end of the semester the students realize that I have been trying to instill good habits of mind and ethics, but the first month or two of class is a steep march uphill. As the only conservative in a 20+ member department, I stay here out of love for the students and sheer contumacy for the politically-correct administration.

socaguy on June 1, 2012 at 9:19 PM

I would still fail Astronomy, even with today’s grading system.

Flange on June 1, 2012 at 9:12 PM

.
Couldn’t remember the signs of The Zodiac, huh?
.
.
.
.
.
.
/s /s

ExpressoBold on June 1, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Educators need to face the fact that all students are different. Some can study for hours without learning a single thing while others breeze pass finals without opening their textbook. To deny this reality denies the intellectual diversity of college students

.

I’d suggest you’ve identified the result but not the root cause. Freshmen entering college are ill-prepared to even begin their academic journey. They’ve been failed by the public school system. Do you realize something like 15% of all students attending a public four-year state university have to take remedial courses before they can even start on college level material? Two-year public colleges is even worse at 25%.

Bottom line, if you want to get rid of grade inflation in the universities, you have to start by rescuing our failing public education system.

Happy Nomad on June 1, 2012 at 9:20 PM

… I stay here out of love for the students and sheer contumacy for the politically-correct administration.

socaguy on June 1, 2012 at 9:19 PM

.
Tenured?

ExpressoBold on June 1, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Untenured professors are worried about the evaluations their students get to do at the end of the semesters. The pressure to do research, publish papers, bring in money from donors/alumni, AND teach with all the responsibilities that go along with that – it’s easier and safer to coast on the grading. That’s not a valid excuse, but that’s how it happens.

AubieJon on June 1, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Liberals run colleges and universities, so these results are not at all surprising. In fact, they’re exactly in line with the results of everything else they control.

jaime on June 1, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Espresso Bold – Nope, not tenured, just a short-term contract. The only reason they cannot fire me (and they’d like to) is that I am the #1 or #2-rated classroom teacher in the department. The students would riot if the Admin. got rid of me.

socaguy on June 1, 2012 at 9:25 PM

The only way educators have so far determined to solve this issue is to focus more on memorization instead of instilling skills like critical thinking. Most students today are forced to memorize facts, equations, and theories instead of actually learning about them. Sure, their grades show the fruits of their efforts, but real education is deficient.

While I am generally supportive of the thesis of this article and the problem of grade inflation, as a teacher, I must respond to this unsupported statement. Students today show an decreased ability to retain concrete information in addition to weak critical thinking skills. This is obvious because in order to make an argument, you must have some facts to base it on. In other words, in order to build a house, you not only need to know how to build a house, but you also need building materials. You have to memorize the facts first, and then you can build critical thinking skills.

The real cause of grade inflation is a simply market based explanation. The “product” demanded by “consumers” (students and parents) are grades and not actually becoming educated. Schools, both private and public, that provide the grades the consumers are seeking have happy customers. Teachers that try to enforce higher standards are pressured into giving better grades, removed from their jobs, or get so sick and tired of fighting parents that they relent and play the game to save their sanity.

The solution – I went to an Ivy League school that actually had a good idea. On my transcript, they list not only my grade, but the average grade in the course. So, if I got an A- and the average grade is an A-, I was exposed as being merely average. At the bottom of the transcript, they also listed this nasty phrase: “Student was above the mean in _____ number of classes, at the mean in ______ number of classes, and below the mean in _________ number of classes. Doesn’t solve the problem, but it was a good start.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on June 1, 2012 at 9:25 PM

…well…Look at Harvard Educated Nobel Laureate Winner Energy Secretary Chew Choo…EVERYBODY GETs an A…the curve works for everybody nowadays!

KOOLAID2 on June 1, 2012 at 9:30 PM

So many high schools stress that teachers “teach to the tests” – ACT, SAT – that problem solving and theory are not taught. The students make good on college entrance exams and then hit the wall when they get into their first college classes because they can’t think for themselves.

AubieJon on June 1, 2012 at 9:33 PM

The “product” demanded by “consumers and voters” (students and parents) are grades and not actually becoming educated.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on June 1, 2012 at 9:25 PM

FIFY.

farsighted on June 1, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Everybody get a trophy.

Cindy Munford on June 1, 2012 at 9:35 PM

AubieJon on June 1, 2012 at 9:33 PM

My limited experience is that the problem starts way before high school and that students don’t have basic skills.

Cindy Munford on June 1, 2012 at 9:37 PM

So many high schools stress that teachers “teach to the tests” – ACT, SAT – that problem solving and theory are not taught. The students make good on college entrance exams and then hit the wall when they get into their first college classes because they can’t think for themselves.

AubieJon on June 1, 2012 at 9:33 PM

Another common myth… Standardized tests like these originally tested reasoning skills that could not be taught, and have traditionally been a strong predictor of success in college, combined with subject based testing like SAT II and AP tests.

The problem is that these tests have been watered down. Standardized testing is NOT the problem – the quality of the tests and curriculum is the problem.

BTW, SAT scores over the last decade have also shown declining critical thinking skills, so the tests show the same problems we see in the classroom.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on June 1, 2012 at 9:38 PM

The only way educators have so far determined to solve this issue is to focus more on memorization instead of instilling skills like critical thinking. Most students today are forced to memorize facts, equations, and theories instead of actually learning about them. Sure, their grades show the fruits of their efforts, but real education is deficient.

I don’t disagree that there is grade inflation, but I don’t know that this memorization approach is anything new. But the lack of emphasis on reading (or wrong-headed approaches to it starting in elementary school) is a ginormous problem. I went though it with my son who just graduated H.S. from what was theoretically a great public school. MEH.

Buy Danish on June 1, 2012 at 9:40 PM

Hey, kids! Come to East Central Bumblefart University, where you can get the federal government to pay for your BA in Blind Left-Handed Postmodern Feminist Asian Transgender Studies! Your shot at a 4.0 is significantly better when you parrot the Party Line, volunteer with AFSCME Local 638 in even-numbered years, and write gushing professor evaluations (hint, hint).

You won’t learn anything that’ll be useful in the real world, but you’ll feel good about yourself and be perfectly situated to join the faculty after you get your PhD in a few years. Play your cards right, and you can end up in Washington, DC working for a policy czar in the Executive Branch. Why deal with reality’s sharp edges and scratchy surfaces? A’s for everybody!

/prog

OhioCoastie on June 1, 2012 at 9:40 PM

ExpressoBold on June 1, 2012 at 9:19 PM

My teacher’s name was, and I’m not kidding, Prof. Starfield. I ‘m still laughing about it 20 years later.

Flange on June 1, 2012 at 9:40 PM

Are the dangers of grade inflation anything like the dangers of pessimism?

gryphon202 on June 1, 2012 at 9:41 PM

My limited experience is that the problem starts way before high school and that students don’t have basic skills.

Cindy Munford on June 1, 2012 at 9:37 PM

Agreed, Cindy. That’s one of the reasons that more parents are home schooling or enrolling their kids in private schools.

4Grace on June 1, 2012 at 9:41 PM

Nice to know the 2.80 GPA I earned in 1976 is now a 3.80. Wonder if Northern Iowa’s updating my transcripts.

chickasaw42 on June 1, 2012 at 9:42 PM

I went though it with my son who just graduated H.S. from what was theoretically a great public school.

There’s your problem – “great public school” simply does not exist. Even most of the private schools are incompetent. It is a national crisis that demands a revolutionary solution.

Don’t worry about it though – The revolution will begin in Houston, TX in the 2014-2015 school year when I open up a new system. Apologies until then.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on June 1, 2012 at 9:43 PM

Cindy Munford on June 1, 2012 at 9:37 PM

True. It starts with parents who are actively involved and who teach their children that communication involves listening more than speaking. In my first teaching job at a college level, the last I expected was to have to discipline students for misbehaving in class.

AubieJon on June 1, 2012 at 9:48 PM

When I went to college, my university decided to add “+” and “-” grades in addition to whole letter grades.
Like clockwork, no sooner did they add the “+” and “-” grades and the arts college wanted to have an “A+” but for some odd reason they didn’t ask for an “F-”

J_Crater on June 1, 2012 at 9:51 PM

There’s your problem – “great public school” simply does not exist. Even most of the private schools are incompetent. It is a national crisis that demands a revolutionary solution.
HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on June 1, 2012 at 9:43 PM

That’s not true. Granted they are rare but they do exist. I don’t think it demands a revolutionary solution. Indeed, there’s been far too much revolutionary experimentation going on. It requires going back to basics while simultaneously employing new technologies.

Buy Danish on June 1, 2012 at 9:55 PM

No grade inflation for my paramedic students…80% is the lowest grade accepted, and that’s listed as a C. We use a higher grading scale because graduates have to pass a written and practical exam before they can be licensed, and 80% is about as low as they can score in class and still have a high expectation of passing the certification exams.

After all, what good is the education if you can’t get the job? That’s why we require a lot of pre-screening of our students and expel them for unprofessional behavior. Still manage a 96% graduation rate.

spudmom on June 1, 2012 at 9:55 PM

The problem is that these tests have been watered down. Standardized testing is NOT the problem – the quality of the tests and curriculum is the problem.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on June 1, 2012 at 9:38 PM

That’s because of the consequences of the tests. The teaching industry can’t afford bad test scores. In short, it isn’t about marking student achievement it is about school funding.

Happy Nomad on June 1, 2012 at 9:56 PM

I think I saw an example of this educational inflation the other night on Bill-O. Segment asking new Yorkers what they thought about Bloomer’s soda cup mandate and they interview a woman who appeared to love the idea of his intervention to help the obese.
Be afraid for the future, America, Be very afraid!

chickasaw42 on June 1, 2012 at 9:56 PM

“academia’s goal of educating students”

it would be better for everyone if universities just fessed up and said that students were simply fodder to support the state and federal funding for research.

regrettably, even local branches of second/third rate state schools are primed for research.

but of course it is nice to get those college aged kids out of the labor force

r keller on June 1, 2012 at 10:02 PM

EVERYTHING IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT!!! DOWN WITH REALITY!!!

Control via appeasement via complacency. Perhaps time could be saved by just handing out the diplomas upon payment received; fastest way between two points is a straight line.

JUST SAYING

John Kettlewell on June 1, 2012 at 10:03 PM

About 6 months ago, HNK, the Japanese broadcaster, had a piece about a new form of depression that unlike normal depression which affects mostly people over 50 years old, was affecting 20-somes.
The symptoms was that those afflicted just couldn’t work but they could still go drinking with their friends. At first they thought it was just plain laziness but after further examination they determined those afflicted with what was called “Modern Depression” they concluded that these younger workers couldn’t cope with a business environment where their bosses actually demanded that these young workers produce. Those who had benn yelled at by their bosses had “Modern Depression” the worst.

J_Crater on June 1, 2012 at 10:03 PM

The student college attendance boom–inspired by huge hikes in tuition fees prompted by easy government loans–necessitated campus expansion to accommodate the increased demand. The building bubbles that resulted needed to be paid for–which meant college administrations had a vested interest in accepting and retaining even very poor students. Administrators used student-evaluations to pressure profs to go easy on students by using the evaluations as major determinants for tenure or promotion. Profs got the message. Popularity matters. Grade inflation has been directly traced back to the 70s when student evaluations first were introduced and when the building boom began.

writeblock on June 1, 2012 at 10:04 PM

My daughter attends a very rigorous high school. She has a top 9% ACT test and is looking at the very selective colleges. At every school, they tell her they will adjust up her GPA since she attended a difficult school and it wouldn’t be fair to compare her GPA which includes organic chemistry, six years of Latin, etc. with schools where world geography is considered difficult. It is very interesting looking at the entrance requirements at schools. They range from pretty much being in the top one or two percent of ACT scores to graduating from an accredited high school and being alive.

flyoverland on June 1, 2012 at 10:05 PM

After all, what good is the education if you can’t get the job? That’s why we require a lot of pre-screening of our students and expel them for unprofessional behavior. Still manage a 96% graduation rate.

spudmom on June 1, 2012 at 9:55 PM

I think there is a big difference if it is teaching technical skills than the more generic concept of education. For one thing, those without some skill or interest in the technical area (in your case EMT) are going to self-decline going into the field to begin with. It is also easier at every step of the process to assess student competency with hard metrics.

The reality is most post-HS education is less directed. My brother went to a state school where they were not really concerned about things like majors or courses of study. Three years in and he was no closer to a degree than when he started. In large part because my brother was even less directed than the university!

Happy Nomad on June 1, 2012 at 10:06 PM

“inspired by huge hikes in tuition fees” should read “resulting in huge hikes in tuition fees”…mea culpa.

writeblock on June 1, 2012 at 10:08 PM

writeblock on June 1, 2012 at 10:04 PM

The only thing you missed IMO is the fact that college professors are hardly underpaid when compared to past generations. This too gets factored into tuition costs.

Happy Nomad on June 1, 2012 at 10:09 PM

It’s my theory that AA drove grade inflation. Not directly, but because it thoroughly broke any sense of duty and fairness in awarding grades. Professors and the institutions, being forced to award passing grades to those that didn’t deserve them, concluded that it would be more fair just to pass everyone.

slickwillie2001 on June 1, 2012 at 10:19 PM

The real cause of grade inflation is a simply market based explanation. The “product” demanded by “consumers” (students and parents) are grades and not actually becoming educated. Schools, both private and public, that provide the grades the consumers are seeking have happy customers. Teachers that try to enforce higher standards are pressured into giving better grades, removed from their jobs, or get so sick and tired of fighting parents that they relent and play the game to save their sanity.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on June 1, 2012 at 9:25 PM

. Perhaps time could be saved by just handing out the diplomas upon payment received; fastest way between two points is a straight line.

JUST SAYING

John Kettlewell on June 1, 2012 at 10:03 PM

We have the perfect storm. Parents and kids are told that a college education is the key to a good life. This creates a market for a college degree. Tuition money is made readily available in the form of student loans. Colleges lower their admission standards to get tuition money from more students. Lowering the entrance requirements means most college students are not capable of what used to be considered college level work. If those students are flunked out, the college won’t get their tuition money. Therefore the academic level of course work must be lowered til essentially all students can get a passing grade. Becuase the level of course work is reduced to that of about 6th-9th grade level for many liberal arts classes, the liberal arts graduates are coming out with the intellectual skills of 6th-9th graders. The colleges see nothing wrong with this because they get their tuition money. Of course, most of the graduates are useless as employees because they lack even basic reading and arithmetic skills. They don’t even approach any level of critical thinking.

This probably doesn’t apply to scientific and technical majors where there are actual bodies of factual knowledge and problem solving that can be tested.

talkingpoints on June 1, 2012 at 10:27 PM

My limited experience is that the problem starts way before high school and that students don’t have basic skills.

Cindy Munford on June 1, 2012 at 9:37 PM

Quite true. I have many more examples of students who cannot do what I would consider 8th grade work, both composition and math, than those who can. It is very discouraging to see the level of student, on average, entering the university today.

IrishEyes on June 1, 2012 at 10:38 PM

I just went through all these comments, and noticed that no one mentions affirmative action or minorities.

If teachers are told that they have to pass members of minority groups who haven’t actually demonstrated the required knowledge, the teacher sees that the grading system is inherently corrupt.

They then know there’s no point in working hard on evaluating students if the process has been destroyed by the school administration.

Dextrous on June 1, 2012 at 10:46 PM

A continuation of public high school?

MeatHeadinCA on June 1, 2012 at 9:16 PM

.
I’d rather abolish public education all together.

But that’s coming from a REAL extremist.

listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 10:57 PM

The only thing you missed IMO is the fact that college professors are hardly underpaid when compared to past generations. This too gets factored into tuition costs.

Happy Nomad on June 1, 2012 at 10:09 PM

I didn’t miss it. But you’re putting the cart before the horse if you believe the need to pay for higher faculty salaries prompted escalating tuition hikes. The rise in salaries was a result of the tuition hikes, not the other way around. Besides paying for campus expansions, government-backed loans also made paying hush money to professors more feasible–in return for their silent cooperation. It was another cozy arrangement to keep the arrangement going smoothly. Government-backed loans meant more kids could attend college. More kids meant more buildings. More buildings meant higher costs. Higher costs meant hikes in tuition. Hikes in tuition meant greater and greater revenues. Greater revenues meant greater inducements to retain more and more students regardless of capabilies. Retention of students meant fostering grade inflation on the one hand and threatening uncooperative professors with denial of tenure or promotion. Part of the corrupt process was dealing with the faculty senates by means of higher salaries. Eventually everybody got a slice of the pie except the hapless student who plunged deeper and deeper into debt for a diploma increasingly worthless.

writeblock on June 1, 2012 at 11:05 PM

The “good” news is they will know all about the civil rights movement, Japanese internment in WW II, “Robber Barons”, the evils and excesses of the free market, how burning fossil fuels is destroying the planet, etc..

Our Republic may be doomed.

farsighted on June 1, 2012 at 9:12 PM

I learned about those long before grade inflation occurred, and I learned about them in high school. They are part of what we must remember so as not to repeat things we should never repeat.

As a person who has relatives who participated in the Internment, I would count such knowledge as of primary importance — about as important as understanding why slaves came to be counted as 3/5ths of a person for representation purposes in Congress.

unclesmrgol on June 1, 2012 at 11:14 PM

I wonder if the data can be broken down to show the average grade in Science, Engineering & Math (SEM) courses (the hard stuff) vs. the Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. I suspect there would be a large difference in the averages.

Usually SEM course grades, particularly the lower level courses, revolve around 3-5 midterm exams and a final depending on how the academic year is divided, quarters or semesters. The nature of the disciplines are such that the answers are fairly cut-and-dry; you either know it or you do not. Grading is thus quite easy and not subjective. Look Johnny, 2+2=4 not 57.6 so I suggest you forget all about medical school and change your major to Women’s Art History, study the fine art of dumpster diving and learn to use an idiot stick.

With the Liberal Arts and Social Sciences differentiation between students is a lot more difficult as the material is much more subjective. Of course these areas of study are also much easier. As other posters have noted if you are striving for tenure or even a tenure track position and a portion of your performance evaluations come from student evaluations then grades will rise.

Much easier to grade [2x + 89]/3x = 89 and thus x = _________ than 20-page papers, single spaced, using 10 point font describing the interaction between race, gender roles and the social stigma of having high cheekbones in 18th century Cherokee tribes vis-a-vis the use of crab over buffalo in traditional pow wow gatherings involving breast feeding squaws.

Bubba Redneck on June 1, 2012 at 11:31 PM

The real cause of grade inflation is a simply market based explanation. The “product” demanded by “consumers” (students and parents) are grades and not actually becoming educated. Schools, both private and public, that provide the grades the consumers are seeking have happy customers.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on June 1, 2012 at 9:25 PM

.

Perhaps time could be saved by just handing out the diplomas upon payment received; fastest way between two points is a straight line.

JUST SAYING

John Kettlewell on June 1, 2012 at 10:03 PM

.

Parents and kids are told that a college education is the key to a good life. This creates a market for a college degree. Tuition money is made readily available in the form of student loans. Colleges lower their admission standards to get tuition money from more students. Lowering the entrance requirements means most college students are not capable of what used to be considered college level work. If those students are flunked out, the college won’t get their tuition money. Therefore the academic level of course work must be lowered til essentially all students can get a passing grade. Becuase the level of course work is reduced to that of about 6th-9th grade level for many liberal arts classes, the liberal arts graduates are coming out with the intellectual skills of 6th-9th graders. The colleges see nothing wrong with this because they get their tuition money.

talkingpoints on June 1, 2012 at 10:27 PM

.
How many times have I said on previous Hotair threads, that today’s College degrees are mostly “bought and paid for artificial social-status”.
An example of this is in the Bible. [Acts 22:24-28]

However I do agree with talkiingpoints, in that “scientific and technical majors where there are actual bodies of factual knowledge and problem solving that can be tested”, can’t be faked so easily.

I’m adding my comment from the Jobs Report thread at 08:33 June 1, because it’s relevant here.

IT DOESN’T MATTER that the guy in the picture has all of the “certified education” that his sign says he has.

What MATTERS is that that the schools/universities/colleges where he received his education GOT PAID with money from the Bank, that he (the graduate) is now “on the hook” for.

If people who could never “make it” in the real world didn’t have these schools/universities/colleges to employ them, so that they could get paid for doing “something”, where would our society be?

listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 9:08 AM

.
Yes, there was biting sarcasm in that last line.

listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 11:39 PM

What do you expect from a society that expresses itself in 140 characters or less?

Universities were originally set up as places of learning…not places of teaching. If students are not taking an active role in furthering Mankind’s body of knowledge, then of course they will learn little. It’s rather like trying to train skilled mechanics without letting them ever get their hands dirty from actually handling engines.

If a man’s business fails, I would have trouble blaming anyone other than him, because success is not guaranteed in a Free Enterprise system.

But if a man is still ignorant after X years of education…we blame someone else?

Incongruity.

We can’t make excuses for poor personal choices for some things, and not for others just because an ideological scapegoat presents itself.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 1, 2012 at 11:52 PM

However, education should still be a school’s primary focus.

That’s funny. That hasn’t been true for probably decades. The primary goal of top tier school is of course research. Its secondary goal? Finding the next generation of researchers. Come to think of it their tertiary is politics/public relations. Ok, so their quaternary goal, that’s education. (I think maybe it’s something else.)

Dave_d on June 1, 2012 at 11:57 PM

The real cause of grade inflation is a simply market based explanation. The “product” demanded by “consumers” (students and parents) are grades and not actually becoming educated. Schools, both private and public, that provide the grades the consumers are seeking have happy customers. Teachers that try to enforce higher standards are pressured into giving better grades, removed from their jobs, or get so sick and tired of fighting parents that they relent and play the game to save their sanity.

Yes, but K-12 students also have a role as employees…they are (in most places…er, I hope) expected to adhere to certain codes of behavior, punctuality and attendance. I dare say that if that is the case, most would be fired if school were a paying job for them. And we see the same lack of motivation in the work place and college after graduation. Who really thinks that an 18 year old FU automatically straightens up and flies right because they get a H.S. diploma in his/her hand all of a sudden?

Please, if a parent bullies a dumbass teacher into giving their kid a grade that he/she didn’t deserve, then certainly that must be OK?

———————————–

The only way educators have so far determined to solve this issue is to focus more on memorization instead of instilling skills like critical thinking. Most students today are forced to memorize facts, equations, and theories instead of actually learning about them. Sure, their grades show the fruits of their efforts, but real education is deficient.

That is antithetical to the Progressive/Rousseauian view of (what passes in their minds as being) education. They despise memorization and homework and have been fighting against both since the 1920s. They brought us “new math” and “whole language” and other crap. They believe that it’s more important that students express how they feel about things…that it’s more important that they can explain their personal rationale for solving a problem than actually getting it right.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 2, 2012 at 12:10 AM

I would still fail Astronomy, even with today’s grading system.

Flange on June 1, 2012 at 9:12 PM

I took an intro Astronomy course and worked hard to get a good grade. I did so well that the instructor called me aside at the end of one class to try and get me to sign on for a physics degree!

The best memory I have from undergrad is when he discussed what would happen to the Earth when the sun goes supernova. He had every student in the palm of his hand that day. He talked for a bit and ended the discussion and you could hear everyone suddenly come back to the real world. It was an amazing experience.

Dack Thrombosis on June 2, 2012 at 1:08 AM

In law school, everyone is ranked, and most employers only look at the ranking, like top 25% or top 10%, they don’t care what the actual grades were, just the ranking and the school (because top 25% is not the same at every school). Largely nullifies grade inflation (which was/is rampant in law schools). If we did this in high school or undergrad it could help, though it does nothing to address the dumbing-down of everyone’s education.

toby11 on June 2, 2012 at 1:09 AM

I graduated from a TOUGH Catholic school in 1991 with a 3.2 and no weighted classes.

Yep, that is superior to Obama’s academic record.

wildcat72 on June 2, 2012 at 2:17 AM

Read this:

http://gutenberg.ca/ebooks/sayers-lost/sayers-lost-00-h.html

Cleombrotus on June 2, 2012 at 6:22 AM

If you flunk too many, you might just be putting yourself out of a nice cushy job, hmmmm?

Don L on June 2, 2012 at 6:31 AM

I would still fail Astronomy, even with today’s grading system.

Flange on June 1, 2012 at 9:12 PM

.
Couldn’t remember the signs of The Zodiac, huh?
.
.
.

Now that’s funny!

Don L on June 2, 2012 at 6:49 AM

“academia’s goal of educating students”

it would be better for everyone if universities just fessed up and said that students were simply fodder to support the state and federal funding for research.

I am a med student at a Big 10 school. They lose money on me even though tuition is $24,000 per semester. My tuition only covers 5% of the cost of educating me. The rest is covered through state taxes, hospital profits, and skim off of the top of NIH research grants given to the professors. Profs are required to research to fund the school.

The upshot is I will accrue $250,000 in federal student loan debt, and it is only 5% of my education cost. The school can charge ever increasing amounts for tuition because it comes from a bottomless pit of federal money. And it adds to the federal money from the NIH federal money from Medicare/ Medicaid, and state tax money. Multiple revenue streams from the same pot.

tdarrington on June 2, 2012 at 7:32 AM

Students and their parents are paying more for a college education than ever before. Yet the product of that education continues to decline in quality.

I have seen many alleged high GPA students come through my office for jobs. A fair degree of them are not able to respond thoughtfully or intellectually to the questions they are asked. They often speak in platitudes, are very topical in their knowledge and search for the “right” answer when they can not respond to a question. They have very poor writing skills and their ability to assemble coherent paragraphs is virtually non-existent. Overall, they are very poorly prepared.

Fail.

I would say it’s not their fault, but that would diminish the accomplishments of people who do come with all the aforementioned skills. Who personally took an interest in their education, building a marketable skill-set, learning to intellectually approach problems and appropriately articulate or publish them. Whose parents may have truly guided their child or took an interest in them becoming truly self-sufficient.

Yes, the system needs to be fixed. Colleges are addicted to our tax money and a federal government finance system that largely is responsible for the poor state of education. Education is not a “right”, it is a privilege that is earned. If you don’t work for it and at it, you don’t deserve it. Period. Harsh? Maybe- but it is reality.

The key is personal responsibility, integrity, honesty and hard work. Succeeding has practically zero to do with this feel-good, inclusive, hand-holding, head-patting, special treatment nonsense. That’s creates unrealistic expectations, incapable individuals, dependency and is almost always a recipe for failure. There is no substitute for a good kick in the pants, goal setting, firm guidance and roll-up-you-sleeves hard work. It pays you back for the rest of your life.

Marcus Traianus on June 2, 2012 at 7:43 AM

AubieJon on June 1, 2012 at 9:48 PM

I agree, screwing up our kids has been a group project. Wrong headed “experts” and aspiring to mediocrity has not been a formula for success.

Cindy Munford on June 2, 2012 at 8:01 AM

I would still fail Astronomy, even with today’s grading system.

Flange on June 1, 2012 at 9:12 PM

No, the system would be failing you by not teaching it a manner that would help you understand and ultimately gain an appreciation for it.

What has apparently long been forgotten is that teaching is an art. Many of the boobs able to pass the dumbed-down “standards” in today’s teacher education programs don’t have the skills to teach your dog, much less your children.

Marcus Traianus on June 2, 2012 at 8:02 AM

Marcus Traianus on June 2, 2012 at 8:02 AM

Excellent point.

Cindy Munford on June 2, 2012 at 8:40 AM

And just think, the liberals are pushing to have all kids go to college on the taxpayer dime. It’s all part of a ruse they pull on their supporters… give A’s, give a free education as if these things will ensure high paid employment. Isn’t that the implication?

Which is a typical short term view of life by liberals.

Once every kid has a college degree and a 4.0 gpa, business will simply begin requiring advanced degrees, multiple degrees, foreign study, etc as a way to filter for the best candidates. Leaving the “typical” 4 year degrees to be as valuable as high school diplomas are now.

So at the end of the day, tax payers will pay and students will graduate only to find they are still not competitive in the job marked.

Chitownmom on June 2, 2012 at 9:15 AM

What has apparently long been forgotten is that teaching is an art. Many of the boobs able to pass the dumbed-down “standards” in today’s teacher education programs don’t have the skills or knowledge to teach your dog, much less your children.

Marcus Traianus on June 2, 2012 at 8:02 AM

Agree. Of course, not all teachers are incompetent but today’s education majors are made fun of by today’s communication majors. (That’s kind of an inside joke.)

Sadly, the best and brightest rarely go on to become teachers. When you get one who did, it makes all the difference in the world.

I can count on one hand the number of really good teachers and professors my children have had.

Fallon on June 2, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Giving A’s out too liberally… is similar to handing out Noble Peace Prizes for wishful thinking… ; )

RalphyBoy on June 2, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Much easier to grade [2x + 89]/3x = 89 and thus x = _________ than 20-page papers, single spaced, using 10 point font describing the interaction between race, gender roles and the social stigma of having high cheekbones in 18th century Cherokee tribes vis-a-vis the use of crab over buffalo in traditional pow wow gatherings involving breast feeding squaws.
Bubba Redneck on June 1, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Thread WINNER!!

Nana on June 2, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Bubba Redneck on June 1, 2012 at 11:31 PM

.
Thread WINNER!!

Nana on June 2, 2012 at 11:12 AM

.
Indeed. : )

listens2glenn on June 2, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Educators have switched their main priority from education to retention

Grade inflation is necessary for retention, which is necessary to keep the thugs from the minority occupied DOJ off the university’s backs. Universities must exhibit great “diversity” (= dark skin pigmentation counts) which, beyond admission preferences for the right minorities, can’t be done without great retention efforts. Hence, for example, the UC San Diego, as part of a settlement, must

“Set aside an additional $330,000 every year to recruit and retain minority students.”

“Set up a taskforce to determine how best to recruit and keep “faculty from underrepresented groups.”

http://bit.ly/JS16Tn

You tax money at work.
.

Chessplayer on June 2, 2012 at 12:42 PM

gree. Of course, not all teachers are incompetent but today’s education majors are made fun of by today’s communication majors. (That’s kind of an inside joke.)

Really? Gee because I’ve gone by that old saying “Those that can do. Those that can’t teach and those that can’t teach either become journalists.” (I mean have you seen how journalists do on jeopardy?)

Dave_d on June 2, 2012 at 1:36 PM

I have been reading all of the previous comments and I believe that the reasons mentioned for the decline of our schools are valid. However, there is an underlying cause as to why today’s College is the equivalent to yesterday’s High School and why today’s High School diploma academically corresponds to that of an old Grade School graduate. It is the fundamental change from the schools being run by local neighborhoods and now by the Government.

In essence, our kids are now seeing what the American Indian children experienced in the early compulsory Government schools…and we all know how well that worked out.

My kids are now grown, but I still remember a PTA meeting, 35 years ago, where the Principal of a Southern California grade school showed me a stack of books, over two feet high, that outlined all the State rules and regulations that mandated how he was to run his school. My enlightenment was complete when he explained the concept of ‘Social Promotion’ – where, rather than having a student repeat a grade to learn what he may have missed, he was moved on up with his classmates to the next level to prevent him from ‘feeling inadequate’. This was the moment I realized that Private School was not just an expensive option.

There is no solution to this Grade Inflation other than getting government out of the education business.

Uniblogger on June 2, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Really? Gee because I’ve gone by that old saying “Those that can do. Those that can’t teach and those that can’t teach either become journalists.” (I mean have you seen how journalists do on jeopardy?)

Dave_d
on June 2, 2012 at 1:36 PM

.
CO-THREAD WINNER ! ! !

listens2glenn on June 2, 2012 at 7:02 PM

A continuation of public high school?

MeatHeadinCA on June 1, 2012 at 9:16 PM

.
I’d rather abolish public education all together.

listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 10:57 PM

.

There is no solution to this Grade Inflation other than getting government out of the education business.

Uniblogger on June 2, 2012 at 1:58 PM

.
Motion made and seconded . . . . . . to the floor for a vote.

listens2glenn on June 2, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Grade inflation equals dim bulbed graduates!
Students are not learning now because the teachers in the classroom
have no practical knowledge of the subjects they teach.
Classroom assignments is by seniority, NOT practical knowledge in the subject or a degree in the subject.

It isn’t just “grade inflation”, it is teacher exageration!

Delsa on June 2, 2012 at 8:08 PM