Grade Inflation

Grade Compression and Standards

Even a change in the grade distribution, however, need not imply an erosion of standards
  • shift from norm-reference to criterion-reference grading
    Removes artificial barriers to achievement: Some Instructors used to say only handing out one A per class -- now anyone who achieves to the required standard may get that A. (Conversely, used to be that instructors gave out 'A' to top student, even if that student had only achieved 35% in the course. Norm-reference grading may tell who is the best in the class, but they have nothing to say about the standard being achieved.)
  • emergence of clearer criteria for professional faculties
    The Minister of Education set Knowledge Skills and Attitudes (KSAs) expected of beginning teachers in Alberta, which provides clear professional standards against which to measure student achievement. Critics may complain that we give out too many 'A's in the Education Faculty -- yet superintendents keep telling us that they hire our students first, because our product seems to meet or exceed their expectations and professional standards. How can the 'A be inflated if it represents best product or the list of mandated KSAs? The grades are not inflated or compressed if they really meet the standard.

© Robert Runté 2005. This site last updated: May 3, 2005