Carolyn's Daily Posts: 2011

July 20, 2011

When an A Is Average



     When a college grade A stands for average, do grades mean anything at all?

     Grad inflation is an issue raised in March 1997. National research showed that students averaging A-minus or better rose from 7% in 1969 to 26% in 1993. C performers were becoming rare, falling from 25% to 9%.

     I recall the opposite problem—grade deflation. It was a summer school class in psychology, with class members from the brightest students aiming to progress in their studies. I received a C grade. However, it must be noted that on a test of 105 points I received 102 points. The professor graded on a curve. 102 points was a C. This feature was present in the class throughout its duration. At the time it didn’t seem fair. This was not a situation of the easy A. It was a situation of the impossible A.

     Grades are a measure of what a student learns. However, grades often reflect something else. I received a D in an art course. It was graded on the creativity factor, where I admit I am deficient. However, it was a course for occupational therapists to learn the techniques of the art process. On that front I did well.

     Still, most students are not A students. There should be some shaking up of quality in college. Some students will stand out. Others will be average.

     Grades can be subjective. I wonder if there isn’t a better system. Probably not.


When an A Is Average, Newsweek, March 3, 1997, pp 64




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