Two Articles on Grade Inflation

The Teachers College Record recently published their findings on grading at four-year colleges and universities. The following are two articles written on the resulting data.

First is A History of College Grade Inflation:

We’ve written before about some of the work of Stuart Rojstaczer and Christopher Healy, grade inflation chroniclers extraordinaire. They have put together a new, comprehensive study of college grading over the decades, and let me tell you, it is a doozy.

The researchers collected historical data on letter grades awarded by more than 200 four-year colleges and universities. Their analysis (published in the Teachers College Record) confirm that the share of A grades awarded has skyrocketed over the years. Take a look at the red line in the chart below, which refers to the share of grades given that are A’s:

DESCRIPTIONStuart Rojstaczer and Christopher HealyNote: 1940 and 1950 (nonconnected data points in figure) represent averages from 1935 to 1944 and 1945 to 1954, respectively. Data from 1960 onward represent annual averages in their database, smoothed with a three-year centered moving average.

Most recently, about 43 percent of all letter grades given were A’s, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960 and 12 percentage points since 1988. The distribution of B’s has stayed relatively constant; the growing share of A’s instead comes at the expense of a shrinking share of C’s, D’s and F’s. In fact, only about 10 percent of grades awarded are D’s and F’s.  <Read more>.

Next, College Hand Out An Abundance of A’s:

Two critics of grade inflation have published a new analysis finding that the most common grade at four-year colleges and universities is the A (43 percent of all grades) — and that Ds and Fs are few and far between.

Further, by comparing historical data to contemporary figures, the authors charge that there has been an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960 and 12 percentage points since 1988 in the percentage of As awarded in higher education.

The study was published Wednesday in Teachers College Record and was conducted by Stuart Rojstaczer, a retired professor of geology, civil engineering and the environment at Duke University, and Christopher Healy, an associate professor of computer science at Furman University. For their study, they collected historical data from 200 four-year colleges and universities and contemporary data from 135.

While they found As widespread in every sector and region, they also found differences, Private colleges tend to be more generous on grades than do public institutions with similar levels of selectivity. As appear to be more difficult to come by at some less-selective colleges and universities and at Southern institutions. Rojstaczer and Healy write that the abundance of As is a real problem. <Read more>

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Posted in Data/Research, Postsecondary (13-18). Comments Off on Two Articles on Grade Inflation

The President and American Business Leaders Announce New Commitments

On July 18th, the President hosted an education roundtable with key leaders in both the private and public sectors to discuss ways we can ensure a competitive American workforce. The attendees, including business leaders, Secretary Duncan, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, and General Colin and Mrs. Alma Powell of the America’s Promise Alliance, talked about expanding strong industry-led partnerships that are working to transform the American education system.

The President’s meeting with America’s CEOs builds on his continued focus on addressing the pressing needs of educating our children:

“A world-class education is the single most important factor in determining not just whether our kids can compete for the best jobs but whether America can outcompete countries around the world. America’s business leaders understand that when it comes to education, we need to up our game. That’s why were working together to put an outstanding education within reach for every child.”

The private sector is responding to the President’s challenge with more than financial support: Corporations have made commitments that take advantage of their areas of expertise and the skills of their employees. These undertakings include programs like Change the Equation, which focuses on corporate investment in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, Skills for America’s Future with its support of business partnerships with community colleges, and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Read more.

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New Blogs From The Library of Congress

Check out these these new blogs from the Library of Congress to learn more about resources for teachers and digital preservation:

Teaching with the Library of Congress – Discover and discuss the most effective techniques for using Library of Congress primary sources in the classroom.

The Signal: Digital Preservation – The Library of Congress covers exciting new developments that have an impact on digital preservation and access.

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