The Overall Assessment of Grade Inflation

In the era of rapidly growing population, the competition to become successful is very fierce and tough. This competition starts at school and stays till the person gets his/her job; even then the competition doesn’t end there. The grades of a student are the first member of competition, the student gets familiar with. Some students achieve grades that they deserve and some get good grades through inflation. Such grading leniency occurs and the students attain higher academic grade which would have received a lower grade in the past. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, South Korea, and India are the nations which have faced such issues.

Former Duke University professor Stuart Rojstaczer, researched college grades, and find out that “A” has been the most common grade at Harvard University for twenty years. This has been the most common grade nationwide since 1998. His studies further revealed that between 1983 and 2013, grade point averages rose from an average of 2.8 to 3.1, with 2.9 to 3.4 in private schools.

Similar studies and researches illustrated that even the Ivy League schools like Harvard, who are known for their traditional rigorous grading practice have experienced grade inflation. They also claim that this inflation is three times more in private school than the public schools. Some critics argue that the students are earning higher grades because they are working harder than previous generations. But studies have shown that standardized test scores have remained constant while grades increased. The conclusion to draw from these studies is that the students are only getting good grades, instead of getting smarter over time.

The Benefits

Periodic grading over a term and frequent test papers aids in getting feedback and students can motivate themselves to do better next time. The students are in perception that good grades mean better job and a better employer. Generally, these grades carry prizes, certificates, and class ranking alongside with them which always looks good on resumes. A healthy competition is necessary for succeeding.

The Impact

The human mind is built in a way that it starts taking things for granted if they come easily to it. The same happens with the grade inflation. Lenient grading reduces student effort. Such inflation will create a perception in the mind of student that he/she will get good grades, no matter how much they study. Further, this reduces their capability of not pushing themselves hard. Grade inflation in high schools can lead to improper placements of students. Students displaying mediocre ability can end up in difficult classes, whereas if they had been place in suitable level, they would have learned more. On the other hand, the deserving student will get a lower grade and reduces their chance to excel. The students changing school mid-term has to undergo adjustments because different schools can have a different grading system. Changing of the schools mid-term often breaks the continuous learning method of student’s mind. Further, this complicates the procedure of ranking students across different universities and institutes. Also, the students are at a disadvantage if their new school does not participate in grade inflation. Learned helplessness can also be seen in schools because of grading system. Poor grades forces students to check their work and raise their standard. Students can lose enthusiasm and confidence in such scenarios. Constant academic insufficiency can create insecurities among students that they are powerless to control their environment. Such conundrums can arise again if student felt tribulation in assignments, homework, and projects.

Arguments against Grade Inflation

The main argument lies in comparisons of grades as there is no national standard for grades. In simple terms, higher the grades better the school. Also, the interdepartmental grading practices can’t be compared in the first place. For example, “A” grade in English can’t be compared to “A” in physics. Some teachers imply that such inflations provide a way for the students to invest their abilities in additional programs alongside their current studies. Some schools allow the brilliant students the chance to excel by offering the honors option as well awarding valedictorians. Further, the general thinking of students is that the grading at college or post-college will carry the weight of future employment. However, studies have revealed that the relation between grades and their relevant job performance is very low.

The Faculty Dilemma

Evaluating a student’s work is a serious job as students always nudge their teachers for higher grades. These grades affect the future of students, but the professors have to deal with their own problems too. By handing a low grade, the teacher puts the student at disadvantage in comparison to his/her peers. Any type of insecurities can affect a student life, especially at a young age. If a class gets bad grades in the majority, it affects the instructor’s teaching ability and it can affect their careers also. Sometimes, the teachers, in order to save some time on grading, grade papers quickly so that they can focus on other projects related to their job.

The Remedy

If grade inflation is bad, then fighting with it is much worse. In this grade-inflated world, using grades to motivate and getting feedback to prepare our young generation for future is problematic. The consequence for a poor performance should not be a bad grade and a student must redo it until he/she achieves mastery in it. Schools are already revising their existing grading policies and some are eliminating them entirely. New schools are looking to create alternative methods of grade evaluation. The solution can be applied at the university level. Universities and large institutions can help in setting a stance against such grading practices. Employers are also boycotting the grades and are hiring students on the basis of their internships, work experience, major, volunteering, activities, the relevance of coursework, and reputation of the college. Recent studies show that the grade comes last in hiring order. Good grades definitely aid students to shine in someone’s books but they will hardly assist them in the competitive job market. It’s their work, attitude, behavior, mentality, and intelligence that will help them in the upcoming strong competitive markets.

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