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Grade Inflation

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High School is stressful. High School is competitive. But why? Is it because we are focusing more on getting an A+ than we are actual learning? Is it because we have to do well in order to get into a good college?

The other day my mom mentioned to me the idea of grade inflation. When she was in high school, a ‘C’ was considered a good grade. Not excellent, but average. Now a days, a lot of students get annoyed when they receive a ‘B’ on an assignment or test.

A CBS article writes, “So how does that reconcile with those lofty high school grade point averages? Alexander Astin, who started the survey in 1966, attributes it to a single factor: Pressure.” Astin elaborates that teachers are being pressured by students and parents to help them get into better colleges.

While this makes sense, I think the pressure is more on the students than the teachers. The students are the ones who spend hours doing the work. The teachers just tell us how we did. The students are the ones who have to compete to get into good colleges. The teachers have high expectations for their students, and parents even more so.

I personally don’t think students deserve these higher grades than the students 20 plus years ago. When asked, my mom said “there were a few, but not many” students who argued with teachers over their grades. I think students are so intimidated by their parents’ and colleges’ requirements, that they are will do anything to persuade the teacher to raise their grade from a B+ to an A-.

Alicia Shepard, wrote about her first year teaching at American University. “The students were relentless. During the spring semester, they showed up at my office to insist I reread their papers and boost their grades. They asked to retake tests they hadn't done well on. They bombarded me with e-mails questioning grades. More harassed me to change their final grade. I began to wonder if I was doing something wrong, sending out some sort of newbie signal that I could be pushed around. Then I talked to other professors in the School of Communication.” She wasn’t the only one who felt this way, every teacher had his or her own stories about students pressuring them to raise their grade.

I now leave my readers with one final thought: what will happen to grade inflation in 10 or 20 years? Will schools add a grade above an ‘A’? Will colleges be even more competitive than they already are? Will students argue with teachers more?



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