Grade Inflation: “A” is The New “Average”
Grade inflation is becoming an increasingly hot topic among schools, educational coaches, and parents. In each grade level – elementary, middle, and high school – grades should serve as a reliable means and benchmark to measure a student’s readiness for the following grade level.
In basic terms, grade inflation is the process of providing a student with a grade that has not been truly earned. Students who are subject to grade inflation will often earn high grades – such as As and Bs – yet, those same students struggle in subsequent classes and on standardized tests.
Upon investigating this common issues, experts have determined that grades often do not provide an accurate representation of a child’s proficiency in an academic subject. Today, the concept of grade inflation is presenting a myriad of concerns – some practical, some ethical.
While an “A” may be the new “Average” in schools across the nation, it has been determined that today’s “A” has been drastically eroded because it is more readily available to students than at any other time since the development of letter grades in the 1880s.
Why Does Grade Inflation Happen?
Since grade inflation became evident among schools, there have been numerous explanations as to why it occurs. The following outlines a few of the reasons behind this detrimental process:
- Many teachers will provide grades based on factors that are not directly related to the academic performance of a student. Examples of these factors include the effort that they placed in an assignment, their ability to do the assignment, the behavior that they exhibit in the classroom, and the general attitude of the student.
- In schools that specialize in educating low-income students, teachers must place a strong emphasis on maintaining control in the classroom and ensuring compliance. As a result, it is common to provide unwarranted grades in order to keep those students well-behaved and “in-line” with the expectations of the school.
- In schools that are often identified as “troubled”, good grades will often be provided to students in exchange for “good behavior”. In essence, the positive behavior is the achievement of the students, not the actual performance in their academic coursework.
What Can Be Done?
Based on that which is currently occurring in today’s schools, it is important that parents, educational coaches, and teachers work collectively to try to resolve the issue of grade inflation. Guidelines should be put into place that closely identify and monitor grading distributions across all schools.
These distributions should be published to ensure a high level of transparency and to hold schools accountable. We should place an emphasis on class rank – like it once was – and we should insist the highest level of performance.
If you feel that your child is being subjected to grade inflation, it is imperative that you opt for an educational coach that may tutor your child and ensure that all necessary skills and concepts are appropriately learned.
The school system is not likely to initiate the process of overcoming grade inflation any time soon; however, as a parent, you may prevent the detrimental effects of grade inflation with your child starting today.
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