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  1. #31
    Aquaria mrcockburn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post
    These experiences echo my own. The expectations, workload and overall difficulty of classes vary wildly from faculty to faculty. I also took introductory anthropology in my last year of university; I found it interesting, it was a nice break from the much more stressful engineering classes I was taking, and in the end I came away with a B+ after spending probably no more than a few hours over the course of the entire semester reading or studying. If I had the luxury of more free time I'm quite confident I could have easily gotten an A.


    I think grades are inflated in certain disciplines, particularly ones that produce a great number of grad students. One of my classmate's girlfriends was majoring in religious studies while he and I studied mechanical engineering. We were happy to get a B or better; she was disappointed if she got anything less than an A and devastated if she had a B+ or worse. Her class's collective GPA was around 3.8; I didn't know anyone in any engineering discipline who had a GPA above 3.7 (A-).

    Where her studies and ours differed most was the way in which it was graded. She wrote essays almost exclusively. We wrote reports and solved (math/physics) problems. Her grading was at the mercy of the professor's interpretation of her writing. Our grading was based on our scientific and mathematical methodology. Southern Kross explains it better:



    On the other hand I found the classes I took which used the latter type of grading were noticeably easier, grade-wise. 'A's were handed out like candy on Halloween. These were (in my experience) mostly social sciences and arts courses. A 'B' in a philosophy or sociology course was much, much easier to obtain than in, say, calculus, chemistry, physics or a latter-year engineering course.

    Does this mean a sociology class was in and of itself inherently easier? To a certain extent I think so. I found my classes in sociology and anthropology took up much less of my time and I still had (in my opinion) half-decent grades (I can't remember now, but I think I got Bs in both). To get a B in, oh... "Acoustic, Optics and Radiation", "Differential Equations" or "Kinematics and Dynamics of Machines and Mechanisms" was a significantly more time consuming and stressful experience.

    At a higher level I imagine many of these social science disciplines become quite a lot more difficult and time-consuming (especially the sheer amount of reading and writing required!).

    The difference is, going back to the example of my colleague's girlfriend, she needed a 3.8 GPA or better to get a sniff at grad school. I knew guys who went into grad school to study mechanical engineering whose GPAs were no better than 3.2 or 3.3. The difference between an A and a B+ was enormous for her, whereas the difference between a B+ and an A for me was "I'm pleasantly satisfied" and "HOLY CRAP I GOT AN A?!?! SUCK IT, BITCHES!!"

    So, are grades being inflated? Yes, in certain disciplines, but the perception of what constitutes a 'good' grade and a 'bad' grade is following the same path.


    People spend tens of thousands of dollars on a post-secondary education. Institutions that develop a reputation for being stingy with 'good' grades will soon find themselves sparsely populated because their graduates won't be able to do anything with their degrees.
    I go to a state university. So they can get away with it on the basis of being the cheapest.

    It really annoys me when I hear about grade inflation going on in Ivy Leagues and then they have the nerve to say that A's there are "better" than A's a state college. MY A's are hard-earned, bitches.

    I should've just gotten myself into debt and attended Georgetown.
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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairdoug View Post
    I found it surprising that A's were more common in private than public colleges.
    Who in their right mind would spend several times more money on a 'private' education if they weren't expected to get better grades than they would at a 'public' institution?

  3. #33
    Aquaria mrcockburn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post
    Who in their right mind would spend several times more money on a 'private' education if they didn't expect to get better grades than they would at a 'public' institution?
    Fixed.
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  4. #34
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    Thank you. Like I said, I didn't write many essays.

    I think an even more accurate way of articulating what I meant is "did not expect to be given better grades".

  5. #35

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    This whole thread is depressing as hell. I definitely think it's easier to get an A now than it used to be, especially in high school. I think standards have slipped because students are less able to earn good grades than in the past. I don't believe in grading on a curve. I think that every student should be able to earn an A or an F depending on their performance. But I just don't think teachers grade rigorously enough because they'd give out too many Cs and Ds. Schools have also invented new advanced classes where kids can earn 5 points for an A and boast of a GPA over 4.0. It's okay though, because everyone has self-esteem!

    If you don't think kids are performing worse than in the past, just look at what was done with the SAT. Fifteen years of declining SAT scores culminated in a recalibration of the test in 1995. Instead of, you know, trying to teach kids better, they rescaled the test so it was easier to get a better score. Anyone who took the test in 1995 or afterwards scored about 100 points better than he previously would have with the exact same number of correct answers. Nothing like putting a fresh coat of paint on a rotting house.
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  6. #36
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    This whole thread is depressing as hell. I definitely think it's easier to get an A now than it used to be, especially in high school. I think standards have slipped because students are less able to earn good grades than in the past. I don't believe in grading on a curve. I think that every student should be able to earn an A or an F depending on their performance. But I just don't think teachers grade rigorously enough because they'd give out too many Cs and Ds. Schools have also invented new advanced classes where kids can earn 5 points for an A and boast of a GPA over 4.0. It's okay though, because everyone has self-esteem!

    If you don't think kids are performing worse than in the past, just look at what was done with the SAT. Fifteen years of declining SAT scores culminated in a recalibration of the test in 1995. Instead of, you know, trying to teach kids better, they rescaled the test so it was easier to get a better score. Anyone who took the test in 1995 or afterwards scored about 100 points better than he previously would have with the exact same number of correct answers. Nothing like putting a fresh coat of paint on a rotting house.
    Absolutely agree. It is appalling. Public education needs to be completely reconstructed. Kids are in school way too long from the age of 5.....well, don't get me started. The scope of the problem is gynormous and therefor implausable to fix within the existing framework. There needs to be a completely new educational paradigm in our country.
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  7. #37
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    This problem can be boiled down to retention. Students who get Ds drop out. Most schools are navigating a huge budget crisis and need paying students to keep them afloat. If you give dumb and/or lazy D students Cs they will stay and they will pay. It's not that admins see this as super moral, but what would you do in their shoes? Don't forget how many hard working, committed, growth-oriented students they also have a responsibility for. Resources have to come from somewhere to make sure they have professors, classrooms and labs, electricity to run huge campuses, etc.
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  8. #38
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Conclusion: grades are basically meaningless unless they're really, really bad.

    Anyway, that's how it works here in Italy: a shitload of Ds and Fs are handled during the first year of your BS or BA - they serve the purpose of scaring unmotivated students. During the second year, the likelihood of getting a C becomes much lower and you start to see around 20% of the class gettings As. During the third year, around 50% of the class will get As. Obviously there's a selection process going on, yet I also believe it's being done purposefully, because given roughly the same amount of study I've gotten both a D and a A in similar exams (the D during the first year, the A during the third).
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  9. #39
    Doesn't Read Your Posts Haight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    This problem can be boiled down to retention. Students who get Ds drop out. Most schools are navigating a huge budget crisis and need paying students to keep them afloat. If you give dumb and/or lazy D students Cs they will stay and they will pay. It's not that admins see this as super moral, but what would you do in their shoes? Don't forget how many hard working, committed, growth-oriented students they also have a responsibility for. Resources have to come from somewhere to make sure they have professors, classrooms and labs, electricity to run huge campuses, etc.
    I think that is definitely part of it. However, isn't another component of grade inflation based on funding needs, the politics of regional and national test scoring, and college ranking systems?

    I guess grade inflation is obvious, but all the reasons behind grade inflation are not. I suspect it's a combination of a lot things.
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  10. #40
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    Shouldnt scoring A be scoring 100% correct(or very close to it)? I kinda doubt that half are scoring 100% correct on tests and if they are, it only shows that the tests are way too easy and dont leave room to get better for people doing alot of studuying and/or are naturally gifted with the subject.
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