Straight A’s are hard to come by, reserved only for the social loaners who devote all of their time to reading textbooks and writing essays, right? Well, not exactly. Recent studies have shown that, over the past few decades, a trend of A-giving has manifested itself in higher education. This process is now commonly known as grade inflation. Similar to inflation in the financial sense, grade inflation does have one glaringly adverse effect. Just like the dollar loses its value when the market is flooded with too many of them, A’s are being devalued with every unearned one that is given out.
This phenomenon has ecently become an increasingly popular topic among academics. Stuart Rojstaczer, author of “Grade Inflation Gone Wild,” and creator of gradeinflation. com, argues that grade inflation is an issue that needs to be addressed, just as it has in certain universities such as Princeton, Wellesley, and Reed. Likewise, in Phil Primack’s essay “Doesn’t Anybody Get a C Anymore? ” he claims that this issue of grade inflation exists because of the professors’ fears of disappointing students. Grade inflation is obviously a problem that needs to be addressed as evidenced by Rojstaczer’s essay, Primack’s essay, and personal experience.
The author of “Grade Inflation Gone Wild,” Stuart Rojstaczer, is a former professor who has written many different works regarding the process of grading. He is also the creator of gradeinflation. com, a website which collects grade data, such as GPAS, from multiple colleges and universities and analyzes the trends. In his essay, Rojstaczer claims that this grade inflation is a problem that needs resolving in order to restore the value of an A and to allow students to get the most out of their education.
The root of this problem, according to Rojstaczer, lies in the expectations of the course and its instructor. He says, “When students walk into a classroom knowing they can go through the motions and get a B+ or better, that’s what they tend to do, give minimal effort” (Rojstaczer, 75). In other words, if students do not feel much is expected of them, they will not expect much of themselves. This, in turn, leads to the student just doing what is required and, as Rojstaczer puts it, “Instead of learning, they drink” (Rojstaczer, 75).
The author advocates for an active method of combatting grade inflation. To illustrate how he believes it should be done, he refers to college that has already implemented it, Princeton. Princeton, in an effort to increase the value of its A’s, created a cap for the percent of student that can receive an A per class. Other universities have followed suit and have attempted to regulate the grades which are given out. Rojstaczer concludes with a rallying cry for colleges and universities to take the difficult step towards change and put value back into the A.
Rojstaczer supports his claims in “Grade Inflation Gone Wild” primarily through the use of the Princeton study, statistics, and logic. For example, when he writes about how college students might be inclined to go to the bar instead of the library if their lasses do not demand extensive studying, he does not use a research study to back that up. Instead, he uses logic. If the students are not studying, according to Rojstaczer, they will need something to do. Something that college students stereotypically do is drink.
Therefore, it is likely that some students will resort to drinking in order to fill that gap. This syllogism, while being valid, has one major flaw in its soundness. The argument is valid, meaning if all of the claims were true, the conclusion would naturally follow. However, the argument is unsound as it relies too heavily on the premise that the student ould turn to alcohol to fill the gap. For the most part, however, Rojstaczer is able to avoid such logical errors. The majority of his evidence comes from the reported GPAS of colleges nationwide, a credible source.
It is this information that the author uses to guide readers to accepting his main claim. Another type of evidence he uses is the Princeton study. This is, overall, a reliable study. However, it is a singular, isolated example, even when paired with the two other universities mentioned by Rojstaczer. One cannot accurately project the results of every college and university by merely looking at three. So, as far as the reasoning for adopting Princeton’s plan of action goes, it is not strong enough support. Otherwise, the author did a good job at utilizing evidence and persuading the reader.
The one thing that could be added in to better convince the reader is more details about what actions the other two universities, Wellesley and Reed, took in order to make their grading less inflated with high grades. “Doesn’t Anybody Get a C Anymore? ” is by Phil Primack, a journalist who teaches at Tufts University. As a professor, he has become very familiar with grade inflation. Primack begins this ssay with a story, possibly hypothetical, where he is grading papers when he comes across some that do not deserve an A, or a B for that matter.
However, the author relents and gives the students grades higher than what they should have received because he would rather not have to deal with a complaint (Primack, 76). This is a prime example of what teachers face when grading assignments. According to Primack, many professors give out higher than merited grades so that they can avoid the negative effects of an unhappy student. He believes that this needs to change and, like Rojstaczer, he has a plan. His lan is based around the same factors as his colleague’s.
Primack points out that universities such as Princeton and Wellesley have taken strides to correct the corrupt grading system, with some success. Primack’s conclusion is two-fold. First off, he believes that programs such as Princeton’s should be implemented on a larger scale. Secondly, he would like university official to put their pride behind them and admit that there is an issue. This, he supposes, will solve the devaluation of the A. Primack is able to support his claim through the use of personal experience and, like Rojstaczer, the Princeton study.
His use of personal experiences, especially in the opening paragraph, is very persuasive. It causes the reader to think, “If he has felt this way before, it is very likely that others have as well. ” The reader’s idea of the prevalence of grade inflation makes the issue seem much direr, and inspires action. Furthermore, this claim is valid as it comes from the author’s own experience and effectively supports the thesis. As was mentioned previously, the college studies are not necessarily beneficial to the author’s claims, as they are too isolated and few in number to accurately make a representation of the entire igher education system.
Overall, though, the claims and evidence used by Primack were very convincing and, as far as one could tell, valid. Finally, these pieces of evidence were sufficient enough to back up the author’s claim. I agree with the conclusions of both Rojstaczer and Primack, for the most part. The two men used credible sources, personal examples, and logic effectively to convince me of their claims. Like these two authors, I believe that grade inflation is a huge problem, especially for those students who come by A’s honestly. Nowadays, it is not nearly as impressive to have a 4.
GPA because, unfortunately, it is more likely that the teachers were too lax in their grading policies than it is that the student did the work to a 4. 0 standard. However, where I differ from the authors’ views is in how they suggest solving the issue. I do not believe that limiting the number or percent of students able to get an A in a class. This is primarily because of the same reason why I oppose grading on a curve. In both of these situations, it is possible for a student who is understanding the content and doing well in the class overall to get a lower grade than he or she is owed.
For example, in a class of all straight A students, if there was a cap on the number of A’s that could be given out, some of those students might unfairly receive a lower grade. It for this reason why I suggest solving the grade inflation via an alternative method. To conclude, I believe that both Rojstaczer and Primack made great points about this grading crisis. Furthermore, this is an issue that should be of the upmost importance to faculty and students alike. Without a resolve to this issue, getting straight A’s will no longer be the problem, making those A’s mean something will be where the struggle is found.