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Argumentative Essay on Controlling Grade Inflation

0 September 10 2014, 14:47 in Education Essays

Argumentative Essay on Controlling Grade Inflation

In 2005, Princeton University instituted a shift in the traditional policy by placing a limit to the number of A’s being given to students. Under the new policy, each department can only give A’s to no more than 35% of its students each semester.Princeton was the first elite educational institution to place a limit on the number of A’s that may be awarded to students. The grade limit was imposed in view of the national battle against grade inflation at schools.

There are many definition of grade inflation. Alfred Kohn defines grade inflation as "an upward shift in students’ grade point averages without a similar rise in achievements.” (Lester H. Hunt, 2008, xv)Princeton views the upward shit in grade point averages as reflection of the lenient approach taken by professors and educational institutions to the grading system.Princeton wants to deflate the grades since inflation gives advantage to students who receive a high grade a department where grades are inflated. At the same time, it prejudices students who receive average grade point averages in certain departments which do not have grade inflation.

One reason why grade inflation happens is the desire of the professors to motivate their below average students to study. It is based on the idea that when students get a failing grade they are de-motivated to learn and exert effort. However, if they get a high grade for their effort, the assumption is that they will be encouraged to work harder.

It is not true that below average students will be motivated to study. In fact, they will even continue with their existing behavior since that is enough for them to pass. However, it is prejudicial to the above average students. I agree that efforts should be made to limit the highest grades a student can receive. The reason is simple when a professor gives the highest possible grades to students who perform average or subpar work they are actually encouraging mediocrity. Though it is not their intention, the professors are in fact discouraging other students who are striving to excel. If it is very easy to get the highest grades then above average students who at the beginning of the class strive to excel will be discouraged to give their best effort in class. How would a person who works hard to get honors degrees feel if the professor is almost giving away the highest grade possible? It is clearly unfair.

When there are no limits on the number of students who receive the highest grades it will now be difficult to distinguish which students are good, better or best. Students whose intellectual ability is superior to the others will not be recognized by the school.

Fairness demands that every person be given what is due. Though professors may give a person more than what is due to him to encourage him to study it only de-motivates the above-average students from striving to excel in class.


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