Grade inflation is an issue where instructors give passing grades to students that do not deserve them and this is an issue that can be seen going on in colleges and universities across the country. Teachers do this for multiple reasons whether it be to keep their jobs, to fill their classrooms, or to keep from having to clash with students about a failing grade. This is an issue in schools due to the fact that grade inflation ruins a school’s reputation and leaves students that did not deserve the grades, going out into the work field without knowing what to do.
This has been happening in a few classes that I know of on BCCC and the Board of Trustees needs to find a solution to this problem. Scholars have looked into and researched grade inflation and found it is an issue on college campuses and I agree that it is an issue at BCCC because I have seen teachers give out extra credit assignments, giving high passing grades on discussion board posts that don’t match the grade they should get, as well as other forms of giving students half credit on something they didn’t complete up to par.
Teachers inflate grades for reasons that only they know, but it is something that has been discussed by several people. An issue, stated by Saltoun Ebin, is that teachers face is keeping enrollment numbers higher. Teachers may inflate grades in order to keep students coming to their classes because some students tend to take classes they feel is an easy pass. Their enrollment numbers determine their job security which is one other reason that instructors could inflate grades. Their job security ultimately decides their money and paychecks.
Schuman states that it could be, that it is not something the teacher wants to do, but something that the students push them to do because students tend to complain and bombard teachers when they receive failing grades and this causes more stress for instructors. Zuckerman and Saltoun Ebin agree that it’s also the students that lead to this because they’re spoiled and can’t take the failing grade, but would fight with a teacher and cause them more stress until they let up and pass them.
Students are so used to passing that they have been taught to be spoiled when it comes to grades, so some instructors find it easier to pass students because they depend on students for their classes and their job and their paychecks. A few courses on this campus participate in giving out extra credit assignments to boost students grades and makes it nearly impossible for them to fail the classes. Whether it is about keeping students from bombarding them about having low grades or about job security, there are courses on this campus that give students these optional assignments to boost their grades to pass.
I have taken two classes in particular that have assignments such as these. One of these courses was a CIS class, and during the semester in taking this class, students were given an extra credit assignment that would boost their grade by a letter grade. In the Psychology class, students were given two assignments throughout the first half of the class that could get them 10 points added to their midterm grade.
Ten points is an entire letter grade higher, meaning a student who failed it could get by with a D. This can happen because, as Zuckerman found, the amount of A’s distributed to students now has risen from 1980 from a 30 percent distribution to over 45 percent, whereas F distribution remains under or at 5 percent. Both of these class could allow students to do nothing and then suddenly do these two simple assignments and earn a passing grade on an important test like the mid term is.
Zuckerman came up with an overall average to show what is happening within schools is a graph depicting GPA’s from about 230 colleges and universities between 2001 to 2007, the average GPA rose from a 3. 07 to a 3. 11. Allowing students to perform extra credit assignments allows students to get by with doing the minimum amount of work just to do these assignments and still pass the class without a worry. There are classes and particularly online classes that participate in giving students higher grades than they deserve on assignments and online posts.
Many of the courses that participate in doing this are online classes, but some on campus class do as well. One course in particular come to mind when looking at this topic. An online Sociology course of mine was a course that gave students one assignment to do a week and at the beginning of the semester students were told to write responses to each chapter we scussed. Students were supposed to write detailed responses telling the instructor what they learned and make it enough for the instructor to know that they read the chapters.
However, going through these posts, you could see that some of them were only two to three sentence long posts which could not possibly tell a professor that a student read and understood the chapter, yet these posts were being graded with 80’s and 90’s. This is obvious grade inflation because despite telling students what she wanted to see, she graded minimum work with high passing grades. This is a course that is considered an “easy A class” for students to take, and these courses make it so the students don’t have to do work or even read the material but still pass when they don’t deserve to.
Students are also able to answer a question only half way up to par and are still able to receive half points or half credit. There was a history teacher that would allow students to get half points or half credit on answers or discussions that they did not try on and only got barely to half way right. This tells a student that only working half way for things will still get you some credit. That in turn makes it seem that you as a student can pass through a class doing half the work and still get points and credit enough along the way to pass.
This goes back to the idea that due to grade inflation, students are being handed A’s for doing the least amount of work they can. Half credit is something that should not be assigned because it gives students points or credit for an answer that could be half incorrect or not sufficient enough for classes later on. Students won’t want to go back and find out what they did incorrect, they care that they have still gotten points for putting what little effort they did into their answer. This kind of teaching is leading students to put no effort into the work they do.
Concluding, grade inflation is something that was a mistake from the beginning because it has now led to student laziness. Students are knowledgeable of the fact that they can pass most classes by putting little to no effort into their classes whether it be because instructors give them grades they don’t deserve or because they allow students to get away with doing half the work and still allowing them credit. This is happening on the BCCC campus in some classes and something needs to be done to fix it.