At U, concern grows that 'A' stands for average

  • Article by: JENNA ROSS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 27, 2012 - 6:57 AM

Prof says grade inflation devalues grades given in more rigorous programs.

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mockingyouMay. 26, 1210:53 PM

man, if only there was some sort of national standardized testing to compare students across all classes and schools so that grades were irrelevant ...

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millcitygalMay. 26, 1211:07 PM

It goes beyond grade inflation. I have a dear friend who is a U professor and she has to deal with students texting and surfing the Web on their laptops as she lectures. When one of her colleagues asked a student to close the laptop, that student refused. The chancellor backed up the student and refuses to limit students' web access during lectures. As a result, they are looking at their Facebook pages during lectures. And we wonder why students are coming out of our universities poorly prepared.

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northstarstMay. 26, 1211:15 PM

Having just graduated, I wish there was a forced curve, where only a certain percentage of the class can get A's and B's. Too many kids do the bare minimum and then whine for better grades. Hard workers lose in the end when everyone is getting A's.

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lewylewyMay. 26, 1211:21 PM

The UofM sounds like a diploma mill - much like the University of Phoenix.

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Lifeguard06May. 27, 1212:11 AM

UND Aerospace Sciences, 74.9% is a D. Try that and see what happens.

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gphrhckyfnMay. 27, 1212:14 AM

As a recent grad from the U, I have yet to witness "grade inflation." Yes, most people in my bowling class received an A, but thats because it was based on attendance and one test. BUT in my biochemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and biology classes, I would say the average was B/B-. Most profs stated at the beginning they wanted a B/B- average and would adjust grades as such.

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HarryWildMay. 27, 1212:54 AM

"Nearly 61 percent of students who took entry-level courses in the College of Education and Human Development nabbed A's in fall 2011. In the College of Science and Engineering, 29.5 percent did. The College of Biological Sciences awarded the fewest A's in those courses -- 24.6 percent" There are easy classes which you get "A" for nothing and then their are engineering and science classes which require lots of study just to get a "C" in. Business classes are in closer to the hard sciences in terms of grades.

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skyblue90May. 27, 1212:57 AM

I completely understand the need to keep grade inflation in check. However, I think this move could have some unintended consequences. In smaller upper-level science courses at the U for example, it's not uncommon for a large percentage of the students in the course to receive an 'A'. However, these are still extremely rigorous courses that have already self-selected for a highly motivated subset of students. If 9 out of 20 students receive an A in such a course, the percentage listed on their transcripts probably won't do justice to the work demanded to receive that A.

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endothermMay. 27, 12 1:25 AM

One of the biggest changes in the last 20 years is that many college students no longer bother to READ the texts assigned for a class. This is true at both public and private schools. Instead, they hop on the internet and read SparkNotes or a Wikipedia entry or some other source that they expect will save them at the last minute. I don't know if this is a result of laziness or overworked students working long hours to pay for tuition, but it means that lots of students are not giving themselves a very good education. The last time I taught a class, I decided to assign some detailed tests in which students were expected to identify key ideas from the books and explain them in their own words. Everyone was warned about the tests well in advance, but the results were still surprising. The A and B students (around 20% of the class) actually did the readings and did just fine. Around 80% clearly hadn't read anything and bombed the tests. Many then complained that the tests were unfair, though they were told exactly what to expect and the hardworking students passed with flying colors. This points to a widespread problem. The majority of students expect to be spoon fed everything without working for it and they expect to receive high grades even though they haven't earned them. Professors will sometimes even receive angry phone calls from parents who feel their children are entitled to certain grades.

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janesciMay. 27, 12 1:26 AM

Make all grade information (not student names/ID) for each course at each university available to perspective employers and graduate/professional schools (actually anyone) at a site like Google. Students can then choose to participate further by supplying their transcript information into a separate database so people can make real sense of what their grades mean (like the percentile is added next to the grade). We live in the 21st century with its technology to surely would allow for such changes. It's time for this shameful practice of grade inflation to end!

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