Grade Inflation: When is an A Really an A?
August 29, 2006
Fr. Peter Guerin, O.S.B., was quoted in a Foxnews.com article on August 24, titled Grading: Is Honesty the Best Policy? On a similar note, Portraits, the college’s alumni magazine, featured an article on grade inflation in the winter 2004 issue - The Fairness Factor.
Fr. Peter Guerin, a former dean of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., agreed that “there is great pressure on non-tenured faculty who rely on student evaluations to receive potential tenure.”
“Many parents may view universities as a consumer market in which their in a way paying for the diploma,” Guerin continued, adding that “students who attend class on a regular basis and are paying tuition feel that they should be receiving that A, even if they have not deserved it.”
Some professors and administrators believe that inflating grades makes it harder for students to realize their academic strengths and weaknesses and may encourage students to take classes based on grade expectation. The practice also makes it harder for parents and students to determine whether or not the grade was earned.
One way to fight the practice of inflation is “to join the administration and faculty and mend them into a working force against grade inflation,” said Guerin.
At Saint Anselm, a curriculum committee was set up in 1980 to meet with the academic dean and review the grading polices on a monthly basis.