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The Unethical Practice Of Grade Inflation

2234 words - 9 pages

Many of us have heard the phrase 'an A for effort'. In the case of grade inflation, students are finding themselves earning high grades for simply doing the work, rather than producing a body of work that illustrates skill and ability worthy of an A. Grade inflation is a topic that has been conversed about on college campuses and in the media as a result of the number of A's many universities are awarding their students. This subject has become more prominent in the last two decades. "This phenomenon cannot be dismissed as an abstract concept, because GPAs have increased 0.6 from 1967 to 2001 on the University of South Carolina campus" (Hunt & Gardin, 2007, p. 19). What has become confusing is identifying the driving factor behind grade inflation. Is it the universities, the professors, the parents or perhaps the students for the reason behind this practice? Is the act of awarding grades to students who have not fairly earned them an ethical act? Grade inflation is an unethical practice because it causes students to have an inflated perception of their skills and abilities, it stifles the student's ability to learn from their assignments and master a skill and students who are performing at a high level might feel a loss of motivation knowing high grades are given and not earned.Defining Grade InflationGrade inflation has many different definitions depending upon the person defining it. Hunt and Gardin (2007) and Elizabeth Boretz (2004) define grade inflation as an increase in grade point average without an associated increase in student ability. Hunt and Gardin (2007) found surveys taken by American college students in the 1990s that found that students did not attend class as often or prepare their written work for class as their predecessors did, and yet received the same grades. According to Harvey C. Mansfield of Harvard University ("Grade Inflation: Its Causes and Cures," 2001), grade inflation is the assigning of two separate grades for the same body of work. The first grade is the official score, which would correlate to the inflated grade. The second grade is an unofficial grade that Mansfield feels the student has earned ("Grade Inflation: Its Causes and Cures," 2001). This illustrates that the grading criteria has somehow changed over the years as well as student responsibility for his or her grades.Where Does Grade Inflation Occur?Some would argue that grade inflation begins in grade school when grades are awarded to bolster a student's self-esteem ("Licking Grade Inflation," 2001). This teaches a student that he or she deserves better grades than he or she has earned, as well as make a connection between self-esteem and grades. This connection can create a false sense of identity as the student develops, because he or she may think his or her academic ability is at one level while they are achieving at another causing a student to be set up for failure once the connection is made about their true ability. This does little to...

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