Thursday, May 06, 2010

Grade Inflation

Grade inflation has been in the news lately. I try to explain to my kids what it was like in a competitive engineering school...tests where 60% was a solid "A", and 17 was a passing grade! We complained about it at the time, and that last example is a bit extreme, but in general, the rigor is good. It is good in terms of "resolution"--if you crowd 80% of the scores into the 80-100 range, you don't have enough room to make real distinctions. It is also good for the soul--it imbues students with a sense of humility, and knowledge that, however hard they have worked and how much they have mastered, they still have miles and miles to go.

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