Sunday, August 17, 2014
Dumbing down higher ed
Dumbing down American higher education from expensive, elite schools, to those on the bottom of the scale fosters educational fraud and limits human potential and growth. Excerpts from a great article by Catherine Campbell about why grade inflation abounds.
"The most convincing theory comes from Stuart Rojstaczer, a retired Duke geophysicist who has collected oodles of grading data. He blames the “emergence of a consumer-based culture in higher education.” As students are forced to pay more and more for a degree, they feel more entitled to high grades. They then pressure professors to weaken standards. Supporting this thesis is the fact that GPAs tend to be more inflated at private schools, where tuition is higher, even after controlling for selectivity.
Sites such as ratemyprofessors.com may also play a role, as easier grading tends to encourage better student feedback. Adjuncts in particular need favorable student evaluations to get rehired.
Plus, academic departments have learned that lenient grading can attract more majors, and thereby earn them more faculty hiring slots.
In other words, A’s have become a more valuable currency in higher ed, even as, paradoxically, their value on a transcript has been inflated away."