Grade Inflation

Comparisons Between Faculties Need to be Taken in Context

  • Quality of students recruited may vary
    • different faculties = different entrance requirements; quotas often imply intense competition for admittance, and consequently quota faculties may recruit better achieving students and have correspondingly higher grades
    • post-degree programs: since post-degree programs have already screened out weak students in earlier semesters, comparison needs to be with senior courses in other faculties
    • students seeking to become teachers are more likely to be successful students: Any graduate could take any undergraduate course and do well because they would know how to do school; i.e., have the cultural capital necessary to know how to approach assignments, studying, etc. Given that education students have been sufficiently successful in school to want to spend the rest of their careers there, they may simply be better at school. . . . leading to better grades.
  • Quality of teaching may vary
    education faculties are staffed by professional educators -- expert in teaching and assessment -- whereas most other instructors lack formal training in either
  • Model of assessment may vary: norm referenced grading vs criterion referenced grading
    Professional faculties are more likely to adopt criterion referenced grading, tied to professional standards (KSAs), and mastery models of learning. Traditional departments may insist on continuing to norm reference grades, arbitrarily limiting achievement and lowering grade point averages.

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