Econhead

11-19-2014, 10:35 PM

Grade inflation is thrown around a lot. I am curious-What exactly is everyone referring to when they say that it is a "problem."

From my experiences, there are several ways that this could come up:

1. Professor thinks that you are in "the big leagues," and essentially breaks the grades into a distribution of A and B (with some distribution of plus's and minus's).

2. Professor is extremely difficult grader (i.e. high is ~50-60, avg. ~20-30), and as a result a huge 'curve' is attached.

3. Professor has low expectations, and as such grades are abnormally high.

4. Professor grades in such a way that they want approximately X% to be A/B, resulting in disproportionately many in these categories (and few below).

5. Professor has an expectation in mind of where she wants students to be. If they meet that, they are in the A/B range (and almost all students meet that); regardless, she does not try to make it difficult enough that students actually fall into some type of A/B/C/D category, but leaves it as A/B.

I attended an unknown state school for my undergrad with no graduate econ program. I've experienced all of these. I view all of them except #2 (and to some degree #5, based on circumstances) as being a problem, yet #2 is the one that I have encountered most frequently (almost exclusively in math courses). In fact, I think that I have only encountered the others only perhaps once or twice each. To me, the problem with 1, 3, 4, and 5 is that the professors don't use the entire grading scale - they are 'against' giving lower grades, regardless of why.

What has everyone else encountered? Am I in the minority to have primarily experienced #2 (which seems less of a problem)? Is this what everyone refers to as "grade inflation"?

From my experiences, there are several ways that this could come up:

1. Professor thinks that you are in "the big leagues," and essentially breaks the grades into a distribution of A and B (with some distribution of plus's and minus's).

2. Professor is extremely difficult grader (i.e. high is ~50-60, avg. ~20-30), and as a result a huge 'curve' is attached.

3. Professor has low expectations, and as such grades are abnormally high.

4. Professor grades in such a way that they want approximately X% to be A/B, resulting in disproportionately many in these categories (and few below).

5. Professor has an expectation in mind of where she wants students to be. If they meet that, they are in the A/B range (and almost all students meet that); regardless, she does not try to make it difficult enough that students actually fall into some type of A/B/C/D category, but leaves it as A/B.

I attended an unknown state school for my undergrad with no graduate econ program. I've experienced all of these. I view all of them except #2 (and to some degree #5, based on circumstances) as being a problem, yet #2 is the one that I have encountered most frequently (almost exclusively in math courses). In fact, I think that I have only encountered the others only perhaps once or twice each. To me, the problem with 1, 3, 4, and 5 is that the professors don't use the entire grading scale - they are 'against' giving lower grades, regardless of why.

What has everyone else encountered? Am I in the minority to have primarily experienced #2 (which seems less of a problem)? Is this what everyone refers to as "grade inflation"?