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Grade Inflation

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					      Grade Inflation
“…an upward shift in student grade point
   averages without a similar rise in
           achievement…”
“Grades A and B are given too readily-Grade A
 for work of not very high merit and Grade B
 for work not far above mediocrity…”


        1894 Committee on Raising the Standard, Harvard University
      Undergraduate Education
              http://www.gradeinflation.com/

                Stuart Rojstaczer

• 1960’s = rapid increase
• 1970’s = plateau
• 1990’s = began to rise → continues today
• U.S. institutions: 0.15 points/decade
• Private > public universities
• Humanities > science majors
   Grade Inflation: Medical Education
• Clerkship setting (Internal Medicine)
  –   1/2 honors, 1/3 high pass, < 1% fail
  –   18 - 43% passed a student that should have failed
  –   More pronounced in 4th year than 3rd year
  –   40% of instructors encountered student grade
      change request; 90% refused the request

• Face-to-face evaluations (students prefer)
  – Magnifies grade inflation
  – Younger faculty = higher rotational grades
     Grade Inflation: KSU CVM

•   Graduates from 1985 to 2006
•   2060 students
•   Age, gender, undergraduate GPA
•   Veterinary school GPA
    – Pre-clinical S1-S6
    – Clinical S7-S9
    – Final cumulative S1-S9
Crude Mean Grade Point Average (GPA) by Graduation Year


                     0.2 points/ decade
        3.4
        3.3
        3.2
        3.1
        3.
        0
        2.9




              1985       1990         1995   2000               2005
                                                    Didactic GPA
                                                    Clinical Rotation GPA
                                                    Final Cumulative GPA
         Cumulative GPA

• 1985
  – C average = 55.7%
  – A average = 15.3%


• 2006
  – C average = 18.8%
  – A average = 39.6%
      Is grade inflation harmful?
• Higher education overly vested in making good students
  look bad.

• Lower/distributed grades ≠ better quality education.

• Intellectual depth confused with difficult examinations.

• Little value in ranking students against one another for the
  purposes of post-graduate constituents.

• Grades do not predict or correlate to career success, and
  effects on retention are negligible.
Final GPA: 10th, 50th, and 90th percentile by Graduation Year
     4
     3.5
     3
     2.5
     2




       1985          1990           1995   2000                  2005

              90th percentile GPA
              50th percentile GPA          10th percentile GPA
 When bright students are co-
   mingled with other bright
  students, they should face
higher standards of excellence.
        Factors: KSU CVM

•   More female students
•   Older students
•   Better students
•   Higher tuition
•   The 1994 D rule
Crude Mean Grade Point Average (GPA) by Graduation Year

        3.4
        3.3
        3.2
        3.1
        3.
        0
        2.9




                            The “D” Rule
              1985   1990         1995     2000               2005
                                                  Didactic GPA
                                                  Clinical Rotation GPA
                                                  Final Cumulative GPA
            The 1994 D Rule

• 1985 to 1993 = 297 D grades (ave = 33 per yr)
• 1994 to 2006 = 100 D grades (ave = 7.6 per yr)

• The impact of replacing the D grade accounts
  for < 0.003% of the increase in final GPA.
Annual Tuition by Graduation Year



 40,000

 35,000

 30,000

 25,000
                                    In-State
 20,000
                                    At-Large
 15,000

 10,000

  5,000

      0
• AGE
  – 1985 = 27 yrs; 2006 = 27.5 yrs
  – For every 1 yr older at matriculation, final GPA decreases by 0.007 points.
  – A 45 yr student is predicted to have a 0.14 lower GPA than a 25 yr student

• GENDER
  – Males have a 0.049 increase in GPA compared to females.
  – Gender is NS from 1996-2006, but is significant in the first 10 years.

• PRE-REQUISITE GPA
  – 1985: Prerequisite GPA = 3.423
  – 2006: Prerequisite GPA = 3.554
  – 1.0 point increase in prevet GPA = vet school final GPA increase by 0.6.
                   Technology
•   Improved visual aids for didactic teaching
•   Student access to teaching materials
•   Resources for supplemental material
•   Student access to instructors

    May contribute to higher earned student grades
    due to more efficient student learning, rather than
    grade inflation.

    Then we should challenge them more.
 Factors: Undergraduate Education
• Better students?
   – Not supported by college entrance examinations
• Studying harder?
   – 1/2 as much time compared to 1970s
• Attitude of entitlement by students
• Evaluation of teaching by students
   – Promotion, tenure, salary
• Expense of higher education
   – Parental intervention, private institutions
• Marketability
   – of graduates (private institutions)
   – of courses (undergraduate)
Factors: Clinical Medical Education

• Clinicians are reluctant to deliver negative
  feedback (no skills, no training, bond)
• Inadequate tools to measure performance
• Students expect high grades
• Encourage a specific discipline
           Factor: KSU CVM

• Quantitative teaching evaluations by students
  consistent for 25 years
• Anonymous, written comments to faculty
• Challenging courses and new faculty are targets


   The combination of student entitlement and the
  opportunity for anonymity are interrelated factors
      that may impact rigor and grading at this
                     institution.
 Strategies for Didactic Teaching
• De-emphasize student evaluations
   – Peer and department head evaluation
   – Student feedback screened for constructive input

• Class rank system:
   – Specific data regarding achievement w/ respect to peers
   – Readily identify poor performing students

• Pass-fail grading:
   – Eliminates competition
   – Maintains focus on mastery
   – Allows faculty to identify poor performing students
 Strategies for clinical grading
•    Objective component to grading
•    Ideal distribution of students on grade form
•    Specific parameters to assign a particular grade
•    Training for residents and young faculty
•    Signed student feedback (written comments)
•    Alternative grading system

Honors      High Pass     Pass         Fail
 22.6%         49%       28.4%          0%

Upper 5%    Upper 25%   Expected   Below Expected   Fail
    9.8%     41.27%      46.2%          2%
               Why Bother?
• New grading systems reveal weaknesses
  – Assimilation of history, PE, laboratory
  – Treatment planning


• Students matriculate with inflated image of
  competency

				
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posted:9/23/2012
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