Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Study Finds Clear Evidence of Grade Inflation. (Noteworthy News)

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Study Finds Clear Evidence of Grade Inflation. (Noteworthy News)

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON

A report published by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences demonstrates clear evidence of grade and evaluation inflation at U.S. universities. The report "Evaluation and the Academy: Are We Doing the Right Thing?" was authored by Dr. Henry Rosovsky, the former dean of Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Matthew Hartley, a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education.

Changing the current system will be difficult, the authors say. But they assert that the academic world has "the obligation to make education improvements when needed and when possible."

According to the authors, "Simply to accept the status quo is not acceptable professional conduct. We need, if possible, to suggest ways for institutions to initiate reforms that will allow as clear gradation as possible to replace the present confusion."

The causes and consequences of grade inflation and uncritical letters of recommendation are complex, the authors say. They cite a variety of possible causes for these developments, including:

* Higher education's response to the Vietnam War and the turmoil of the 1960s;

* Changes in curricular and grading policies;

* The advent of student evaluations of professors;

* The rise, in the 1980s, of consumerism;

* The watering down of course content;

* The increasing role of adjuncts in university faculties. …

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