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Subject:

Re: Grading & Curves continued

From:

"Gattis, Ken" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 3 May 2004 12:58:31 -0400

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-->  Just a few random comments below.  If everyone else is tired of this,
please say so.  Obviously Nic & I enjoy this topic!
Ken Gattis

Ken,
Thanks for a very thoughtful discussion. Judging by the silence of
our listmates, it may be that we are talking only to one another,
nonetheless I've gained a lot by having the discussion.

I'll start from the end of your reply and go "up". I agree that
maintaining standards is often a thankless job: maintaining grading
standards, and teaching standards. I've "trained" enough faculty, and
given enough Bs in a highly competitive environment (UC Berkeley) to
know both first hand. I also know that it's much easier to give a
good grade than it is to write a good test and the pull to be "nice"
to students by giving them a higher grade  than was earned is hard to
struggle against. What I see going on is an effort to maintain
teaching and grading standards by capping grades and doing virtually
nothing about teaching and grading. That's not fair to students, and
its likely to undercut pedagogy, not improve it.

I need to clarify my comments about "real world" vs."statistical
significance" which you address in your third paragraph below.
Statistical significance indicates that two measures or outcomes
(e.g. test scores) are likely to be due to real difference, not
merely random variation. Questions of real world significance ask
whether the statistically reliable difference observed is actually
IMPORTANT. Let me give a concrete example to exemplify my
point.Imagine that I design a test that measures surgical skill--to
use your example--and administer it to practicing surgeons. Happily,
the distribution of tests scores I get is very near to a normal
curve. A few surgeons scored very high and low and many more are
clustered around the mean. I've got a good, fair test, that measures
real  differences in surgical ability or performance, right? Not
necessarily. I need to test for validity, too. In order to do this, I
do an intensive study of a sample  of the high scoring, middle
scoring and low scoring surgeons (the A's, Cs and F's on the test, if
you will). For each of these three groups, I study their ACTUAL
surgical results. I find out about success rates and recovery rates,
I interview other surgeons who work with them in the operating room
to get their assessments, etc. And, in this hypothetical example, I
find no statistical difference between the three groups' in terms of
actual results and rankings by colleagues. How do I interpret my
initial test results which showed that there were differences? One
likely interpretation is that I made a test that didn't measure
what's important about  surgeons and surgery: the differences I found
are there, but they have apparently nothing to do with surgical
skill. Another, related, interpretation, is that my test uncovered
differences that were so small as to have no real world significance
in the actual performance. That is,  my test does really measure
differences important to being surgeon, but the variation is so small
as to have no real consequences for patients. My test is too
fine-grained, it unearths distinctions between surgeons that don't
really matter: a distinction without a difference. In this case, my
test may be reliable, and it has a kind of validity, but the results
don't give me any information that has any real world utility. In the
real world of surgery the differences I've discovered make no
difference. So, tests can be statistically elegant and, practically
speaking, useless.


--> Nic, I think I understand what you're saying, and you may be right for
top students at top schools.  I'll have to defer to you because of my lack of
experience with Berkeley students.  There may not be much actual difference
in real-world knowledge between the student with a 95 average and one with an
88 average.  They're both smart as a whip and have learned most of the
information that was expected of them.

--> But I think many of us on the list work with college students that have
much more varied backgrounds and differ a lot in the amount of effort they
put into any one course.  Many of these students, especially the youngest
ones, study mainly to avoid failure, not to excel.  And while as educators
we'd rather them not be this way, we have to work with the students we are
given.

--> The other issue seems to me whether you want to distinguish between
Berkeley students, even if you're not sure there is any real-world difference
in their knowledge.  What if 95% of  your students' finished with GPAs
between 3.5 and 4.0?  I would think that could cause a credibility issue with
employers and the public.


If that example seems far-fetched lets use IQ test scores as a second
example. A yard stick measures 36 inches of distance; how much
intelligence does one IQ point measure? We don't know, so we can't
say how much difference  there is between someone who scores 100 or
110 and IQ test in terms external to the curve. Sure, 110 is 10% more
than 100, is a person with a 110 IQ 10% "smarter" than someone with
100? That seems unlikely. But this highlights the fact that we don't
know what these  points (determined by statistical analysis)
correspond to in terms of real world intelligence, though we can lay
down a yardstick and say how much distance it measures in the real
world. Same with a typical curved exam score distribution--we don't
know how much knowledge each point is worth, so we don't know
different scores should be rewarded with grades.

--> I don't know what it means to be 10% smarter, but I would say the average
person with an IQ of 110 is smarter than the average person with an IQ of
100.  (Here I'm talking about the traditional view of intelligence, not the 6
or so other types of intelligence.)  Like you said, you don't know how much
an IQ point represents in the real world, but most people feel that IQ does
measure something real and useful.  If you don't think so, imagine you had to
hire someone (or admit someone into college) but you couldn't interview them
or look at anything but IQ.  Would you pick someone with IQ=100 or IQ=110?  I
think most people feel the same way about grades.  They feel they are
meaningful and useful.



You point out that one of the "main goals of instruction should be
finding the most appropriate ways of evaluating knowledge and to
design evaluations so as to reduce "test error" as much as possible".
Agreed, if one is going to adopt a statistical approach to grading
students, this should be done. As far as I know, it never actually
is. The result is that statistical approaches  are used
inappropriately. Simply norming test scores does not make a test fair
and a good measure of differences in knowledge, but that is the
assumption that virtually all faculty make. ETS, for example, spends
millions on psychometricians to "reduce test error" and even they
aren't perfect. Using a curve without evaluation of  test design is
not strict, nor does it uphold standards, it's shoddy practice  and
often serves to conceal poor test design.
It seems to me that curves are especially poor ways to uphold
stadards. After all, it takes the determination of the standards of
the hands of the faculty and puts it into the hands (and heads) of
the set of students taking the exam. The standards are determined by
students' collective  performance, not the informed judgement of the
expert in the field. Given that many faculty claim that student
performance is going down, using curves sounds  like a recipe for
diminishing standards, not upholding them.


-> I don't like curving either, although I don't think a little here and
there hurts.  If tests are fairly constructed at the appropriate level and
most students are prepared to take them, there should be no need for curves.
I am opposed to the practice of many instructors who give overly difficult
tests and then curve the grades.

-> All tests involve error, no matter what approach you take.  All I'm saying
about test error is that you have to work to reduce it.  The error is that
difference between the test score and that "real world knowledge."


Another thing that curving has been shown to do is undercut students'
engagement in learning tasks for the sake of learning. In an
unpredictable grade environment where one's own learning has less
impact on one's grade than the performance of fellow-students (i.e.
when a curve is used), students focus much more on grades and
"psyching out the professor". In this context, students focus more on
grades than learning. So grading on the curve actually exacerbates
another common faculty lament, that students are overly focused on
grades and are not interested in learning for learning's sake. I'll
trot  out a personal example from my first college chemistry course
to demonstrate. In  Chem 1A the first midterm was worth 200 points, I
got an 82--that was a B. As I was studying for the final I realized
that if I  could get what "normally" counts for a B (80%) on half of
the material examined, I would get a B on the exam as a whole.
Focusing on manipulating the curve, I studied only half the material,
answered half the questions, got 80% of them correct, got 80 points
and got a B. AND didn't really learn much about chemistry, as you
might imagine. AND,  never took another chem class. The way teachers
grade has a big impact on how students study and learn--it's not
merely an add-on--yet this is not often considered in  discussions of
grading.





>I want to briefly address Nic's comments below.  There's a lot in his reply,
>but I appreciate this longer discourse because it's so easy to misunderstand
>and be misunderstood when you only write a few words.
>
>I agree with the point Nic made in the first paragraph.  Grading is somewhat
>arbitrary in that you can't say that a student who gets 25% more questions
>right on a test than another student is necessarily 25% more knowledgeable
on
>the test content.  Test scores (and other forms of evaluation) approximate
>true knowledge.  The difference between the two is "test error."  One of the
>main goals of instruction should be finding the most appropriate ways of
>evaluating knowledge and to design evaluations so as to reduce "test error"
>as much as possible.
>
>In the 2nd paragraph, Nic states that there might be variations in
>performance in his class, but "it's not obvious that such variation would
>have real world significance."  I am hoping that Nic doesn't teach surgical
>techniques.  :-)   This may be an area where there is indeed a difference in
>perspective depending on the academic area.  I suppose there are a number of
>courses where there is a low demand to learn facts, theories, and
techniques.
>In these courses perhaps all that's expected is an open mind, some reading,
>and class participation.  I could see all students in such courses getting
>A's, assuming they come to class.
>
>I agree with Nic that much of the difference in grade distributions among
>profs is due to difference of beliefs about what grades are for.  Are they
to
>always distinguish among performance levels in a class, even if everyone
does
>fairly good work?  I think those at the top levels of the university could
>provide more guidance here.  Also, departments could do a lot more to help
>guide profs on what is A level work (not to mention a few techniques for
>instruction).  In the almost complete absence of administrative guidance,
>it's no wonder that grade distributions are so different.  And because of
the
>tendency to use student evaluations as the only real measure of teaching
>performance, it's no wonder that grades continue to creep upward.  If the
>universities got more involved with guiding and supervising the
instructional
>process, they might not be seeing all the grade inflation.
>
>Finally, let me clarify what I said about compassion and teachers giving
>"easy A's".  I agree with Nic that a "student-centered" approach is not
>necessarily easy for either the instructor or the student.  What I was
trying
>to say was that I think there are a lot of instructors who give easy A's and
>LIKE TO THINK they are being compassionate and student-centered.  Although
>maybe they're only being pragmatic.  No one is going to complain about the
>high grades except maybe the professors who try a little harder to
>distinguish high performance from mediocre.  Holding the line on grades is a
>thankless burden, but the profs who do it want student GPAs to really mean
>something.
>
>Ken Gattis
>
>
>Kenneth W. Gattis
>Director, Academic Services
>Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences
>Nova Southeastern University
>3301 College Avenue
>Fort Lauderdale, Florida  33314
>(954) 262-8403 or (800) 338-4723, ext. 8403
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Nic Voge [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 3:11 PM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: Grading
>
>Hi Ken and others reading in,
>There may well be the kind of variation in all classes as you
>suggest---that's a guess based upon statistically observable NATURAL
>phenomena--but even if there is variation in any particular course,
>we're still left with the question of importance or meaning of that
>variation. On what basis do instructors decide that small or large
>variations should be mapped onto objective standards of A-F? For
>example, why should 1+ Standard Deviation below the mean be a C, 2
>above an A, etc.? Additionally, as you know, large numbers in a
>sample make  it easy to find significant statistical differences, but
>significance, in the statistical sense, is not importance in the real
>world sense. Put another way, does the break point between A's(4.0)
>and B's (3.0) really distinguish between markedly different
>performances? Are A students on the curve really 25% more
>knowledgeable than B students (the grade point difference would
>suggest they are)? How would teachers know?
>
>And getting back to the issue of variation, you point out that there
>are many factors that may lead to variation in performance--I'll
>accept that, and could even add some more "factors". But this tells
>us nothing about a PARTICULAR class and students' learning in
>relation to it. Student learning is not a random event governed by
>probability--at least not in my view--I think curriculum and
>instruction matter to student performance. So, while I can  imagine
>lots of reasons why there would be variation in performance, I
>couldn't know that's the case in my class and it's not obvious that
>such variation would have real world significance. So, of course, I
>can use a curve to sort performances, but would the distribution tell
>me something important and valid about student performance
>differences? That depends a lot on the  nature of the task and
>grading criteria. So, using a curve to sort student performance does
>not give instructors a free pass on these issues, no matter how much
>we wish otherwise.
>
>On to other issues you bring up. I find your "strict" vs "easy"
>graders theory--a version of "there are two types of people in the
>world"--rather interesting. I don't believe for a minute that the
>strict graders, the keepers of academic "standards", are "strict"
>evaluators in all realms. I doubt these folks are advocating for a
>limit on the number of faculty who get pay raises in a given year
>based upon their performance or that instructor evaluations should be
>capped at 10% "excellent" or that only a set number of scholars can
>get positive performance reviews  or what have you. That is, they are
>not strict graders when  their own performance or their colleagues'
>performance is being evaluated, only when students are being judged.
>If I am wrong on this, please tell me at what institution this is
>occurring. If the lines on evaluation are being drawn around strict
>vs. easy worldviews, we should see this same dichotomy played out in
>all kinds of evaluation. To my knowledge we don't. I don't doubt that
>the two "camps" have differing ideas about how many students should
>get As, Bs, etc. but this difference has nothing to do with
>strictness I suspect. I think it has to do with beliefs about what is
>"fair", what grades are for, etc. A  member of camps that believe
>that many or few students should get certain grades could strictly
>adhere (or not) to their quota of As, Bs etc. For example, "I shall
>not give more than 90% of the class As, no matter what!" or "Though I
>believe no more than 10% of students should get As, and only 8% truly
>earned them by my standards, I'll give the next highest 2% As
>nontheless." More explicitly, strict adherence to low or arbitrary
>standards (or the opposite) is far less important than the nature of
>the standards. I suspect that so-called strict and easy graders have
>differing views on THIS particular issue, and the reason is not
>strict or easy worldviews or orientations, but specific beliefs about
>education and grading of students.
>
>Lastly, you wrote, "The easy graders see themselves as compassionate
>and student-centered," which to me suggests that you believe teachers
>who are student-centered are so in order to be, or because they are,
>easy graders and compassionate. I have another view. The
>student-centered approaches with which I am familiar follow from
>constructivist (and other contemporary) theories of learning. From my
>perspective, student-centered approaches to teaching and learning are
>not necessarily less rigorous or demanding of students (nor are
>mastery-based standards) and do not follow from a desire by
>instructors to be warm and cuddly as some suggest. Student-centered
>approaches follow from the recognition that learning and learners are
>what matters most in teaching-learning interchanges. We teach only so
>that learners learn; teaching is rightfully the handmaiden to
>learning. Similarly, knowledge is built by the knower not transmitted
>from teacher to student. Thus, putting learning at the center of
>teaching-learning is only logical. Getting back to grading, in my
>experience, truly student-centered approaches to teaching and
>learning are MORE challenging to students and more demanding. In a
>student-centered course it is students who must make difficult
>decisions about learning--what and how--and this requires that they
>take responsibility and initiative, actions that most curricula and
>instructional methods inhibit. It's hard for students to make this
>change, much harder than simply " banking" the information
>transmitted by an instructor and then regurgitating that on an
>exam--even at high rates of accuracy.
>
>Perhaps I've misinterpreted your clustering of "easy" and
>"compassionate" with "student-centered"-- but even if I have I think
>its important to our community to discuss the reasons for
>student-centeredness, including its basis in current learning theory.
>
>Nic
>
>>Nic, I agree that the Princeton policy could cause problems in certain =
>>cases.
>>I believe it's possible that a prof could create a criteria-based course =
>>that
>>most diligent and capable students could master (given a minimum of =
>>competing
>>commitments and, especially, in content areas that are less dependent on =
>>a
>>strong background in the subject).  The policy would be unfair to this =
>  >prof
>>and his or her students.
>>
>>=20
>>
>>However, I believe in most college classes there are going to be marked
>>differences in performance, either due to poor teaching (which leaves =
>>all
>>students with approximately the same knowledge they came into the class
>>with); substantial differences in background knowledge of specific =
>>subjects
>>or mastery of specific skills, especially in mathematics and writing; or =
>>the
>>level of effort put forth by the student.  I believe these factors even =
>>exist
>>at Princeton and other upper-echelon schools, although perhaps not to =
>>the
>>same extent as at other schools with middle-of-the-road students (and
>>instructors). =20
>>
>>=20
>>
>>Just looking at effort levels, there are many reasons why a group of =
>>students
>>will vary in the amount of effort put forth in a specific course:  =
>>interest
>>in the course, affinity for the teacher, competing social commitments,
>>competing club, sport, and work commitments, psychological well-being,
>>stability of relationships, and on and on and on. =20
>>
>>=20
>>
>>To reiterate my point, which really has more to do with common sense =
>>than
>>statistics, most college courses with a number of students will turn out
>>vastly different performance levels.  I think the Princeton policy is an
>>attempt to force professors to fairly detect and report those =
>>differences.
>>
>>=20
>>
>>Just one point about the profs that want the policy:  It's really a =
>  >battle
>>between the "easy graders" and the "strict graders."  The strict graders =
>>feel
>>like they are upholding academic standards and see the easy graders as
>>slackers that give away As to undeserving students.  The easy graders =
>>see
>>themselves as compassionate and student-centered and the strict graders =
>>as
>>Scrooges.  In this battle the strict graders have won the day.  And yes, =
>>as
>>you might have guessed, I am more sympathetic toward the strict graders, =
>>as
>>long as they are truly discriminating between differences in =
>>performance.=20
>>
>>=20
>>
>>Ken Gattis =20
>>
>>=20
>>
>>Kenneth W. Gattis
>>
>>Director, Academic Services
>>
>>Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences
>>
>>Nova Southeastern University
>>
>>3301 College Avenue
>>
>>Fort Lauderdale, Florida  33314
>>
>>(954) 262-8403 or (800) 338-4723, ext. 8403
>>
>>=20
>>
>>=20
>>
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Nic Voge [mailto:[log in to unmask]]=20
>  >Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 12:31 PM
>>To: [log in to unmask]
>>Subject: Re: Grading
>>
>>=20
>>
>>Ken,
>>
>>In your "statistical" analysis below you assume that Princeton, and
>>
>>other student bodies, are random samples of the population. Of course
>>
>>they are not, they are in fact the opposite. They are selected very
>>
>>non-randomly for precisely the combination of characteristics that
>>
>>would suggest that all the students admitted should be able to get
>>
>>A's.
>>
>>=20
>>
>>This convesation has taken a different direction, but here's the
>>
>>response I wrote to the "Grading" piece before I saw others'
>>
>>responses:
>>
>>=20
>>
>>I find the assumption (implicit in this, and  many other discussions,
>>
>>of "grade inflation") that higher grades are undeserved and so
>>
>>inflated, to be insidious. If Princeton were to find that students'
>>
>>evaluations of instructors were high and that 46% of instructors were
>>
>>rated as excellent would they assume that the explanation was "grade
>>
>>inflation"? Would they put a cap on the number of good evaluations an
>>
>>instructor could get?  I think not; old Princeton U would be touting
>>
>>that as proof that they had great instructors. So, why don't they
>>
>>explain high grades in terms of great students?
>>
>>=20
>>
>>And, by the way, who in the heck is exercising such poor judgment in
>>
>>assigning these inflated grades in the first place? The very
>>
>>professors, obviously, who are calling for caps. But isn't the tone
>>
>>of this and other pieces on grade inflation suggestive that students
>>
>>have done something wrong--when they have very little say on general
>>
>>grading practices.
>>
>>=20
>>
>>An arbitrary cap on the number of A grades assigned in any given
>>
>>class is capricious and unfair. Why not put a cap on the number of A
>  >
>>grades any given student can get during their academic career? The
>>
>>latter is unthinkable, but the former policy essentially makes the
>>
>>latter a policy by default for some students since the total number
>>
>>of A's will now be controlled and limited. And, lastly, as an
>>
>>institution that professes the importance of "evidence" in making
>>
>>claims, universities like Princeton seem to be relying on remarkably
>>
>>little evidence  that supports the claim of grade inflation. "Grade
>>
>>inflation" like other modern notions like "anyone can teach" are
>>
>>accepted uncritically. Why do evidentiary standards go out the window
>>
>>in this case; why don't university administrators need evidence when
>>
>>they make policy decisions that may harm students learning and
>>
>>engagement? What's inflated, at least as much as students' grades, is
>>
>>university administrators' sense of their knowledge and expertise
>>
>>about teaching and learning.
>>
>>=20
>>
>>For an alternative point of view on supposed "grade inflation", read
>>
>>Alfie Kohn's piece, also from the Chronicle of Higher Ed, "The
>>
>>Dangerous Myth of Grade Inflation".
>>
>>http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/gi.htm
>>
>>=20
>>
>>=20
>>
>>=20
>>
>>>Based on the responses I've seen, I feel compelled to play devil's =
>>advocate
>>
>>>here.
>>
>>>
>>
>>>A quota on A's does seem potentially unfair, but what they are =
>>proposing is
>>a
>>
>>>"curve" that is skewed to allow many A's, so there is only a small =
>  >chance
>>
>>>that any particular student will receive a raw deal.  In any group of
>>
>>>students, even very high achieving ones, some will do better is one =
>>course
>>
>>>and some in another.  This is due to, among other things, differences =
>>in
>>
>>>aptitude, background in the subject, and effort.
>>
>>>
>>
>>>Usually you are going to have definite differences in the mastery of
>>
>>>coursework.  This is mastery, not effort.  This wouldn't apply if you =
>>graded
>>
>>>on completion of work and effort, in which case you might be able to
>>motivate
>>
>>>almost all the students to complete requirements for an A.
>>
>>>
>>
>>>The one exception I could see would be in very small classes, where you
>>might
>>
>>>happen to have all the students with a very good background and who put =
>>in
>>
>>>the effort to master the material.  In other words, it's a remote but
>>
>>>possible chance to have all five students in a class be =
>  >"Michaelangelos" but
>>
>>>a statistical impossibility for all 30 in a class to be that gifted and
>>
>>>productive.
>>
>>>
>>
>>>Ken Gattis
>>
>>>
>>
>>>
>>
>>>Kenneth W. Gattis
>>
>>>Director, Academic Services
>>
>>>Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences
>>
>>>Nova Southeastern University
>>
>>>3301 College Avenue
>>
>>>Fort Lauderdale, Florida  33314
>>
>>>(954) 262-8403 or (800) 338-4723, ext. 8403
>>
>>>
>>
>>>
>>
>>>-----Original Message-----
>>
>>>From: Sedillos, Dr. Marlene [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>>
>>>Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 10:34 AM
>>
>>>To: [log in to unmask]
>>
>>>Subject: Re: Grading
>>
>>>
>>
>>>I've been in classes back in the 70's where the teacher graded on the =
>>curve.
>>
>>>Only a few will get an A, no matter how well they do. I'm thinking of =
>>an art
>>
>>>class in particular. There could have been 20 Michael Angelos or =
>>Rembrants-
>>
>>>some would have to get a C or below.  Actually the class included three =
>>of
>>
>>>us that were A students. I received a B and the other two A students
>>
>>>received C's.
>>
>>>
>>
>>>-----Original Message-----
>>
>>>From: William C. Roark
>>
>>>To: [log in to unmask]
>>
>>>Sent: 4/27/2004 8:38 AM
>>
>>>Subject: Re: Grading
>>
>>>
>>
>>>This is very interesting. Theoretically, if 40 students perform all the
>>
>>>criteria of an A on a grading rubric, 5 of them will not receive the
>>
>>>grade
>>
>>>they honestly earned. Giving the current environment of "student
>>
>>>centered"
>>
>>>learning, I do not see how this is fair or equitable.  While I see a
>>
>>>need to
>>
>>>counter grade inflation, implementing a quota seems disparaging.  The
>>
>>>outcome of the WORK performed should be quantified, not the =
>>distribution
>>
>>>of
>>
>>>a particular grade.
>>
>>>
>>
>>>-----Original Message-----
>>
>>>From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
>  >
>>>[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Norman Stahl
>>
>>>Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 7:45 AM
>>
>>>To: [log in to unmask]
>>
>>>Subject: Grading
>>
>>>
>>
>>>
>>
>>>Updated: 05:28 AM EDTPrinceton Approves Grade-Rationing Plan
>>
>>>PRINCETON, N.J. (April 26) - Princeton University faculty approved a
>>
>>>plan
>>
>>>Monday to combat rising grades by limiting the number of A's it awards
>>
>>>to
>>
>>>undergraduates.
>>
>>>The faculty voted 156 to 84 to implement the plan, making Princeton the
>>
>>>first
>>
>>>college or university to formally curb grade inflation by rationing =
>>A's,
>>
>>>said
>>
>>>Dean of the College Nancy Weiss Malkiel, who proposed the plan.
>>
>>>Under the guidelines, which go into effect in the fall for Princeton's
>>
>>>4,600
>>
>>>undergraduates, faculty are expected to restrict the number of A's to =
>>35
>>
>>>percent in undergraduate courses. For junior and senior independent
>>
>>>work,
>>
>>>the
>>
>>>percentage receiving A's will be capped at 55 percent.
>>
>>>A's have been awarded 46 percent of the time in recent years at
>>
>>>Princeton,
>>
>>>up
>>
>>>from 31 percent in the mid-1970s. Since 1998, the New Jersey school has
>>
>>>encouraged its faculty to crack down, but grades continued to rise.
>>
>>>Finally,
>>
>>>Princeton administrators decided that the only solution was to ration
>>
>>>top
>>
>>>grades.
>>
>>>At other Ivy League schools, the percentages of A grades in
>>
>>>undergraduates
>>
>>>courses ranges from 44 percent to 55 percent, according to Princeton's
>  >
>>>Web
>>
>>>site.
>>
>>>At Harvard University, 91 percent of seniors graduated with some kind =
>>of
>>
>>>honors in 2001.
>>
>>>"The percentages stipulated would return our grading practices to the
>>
>>>level
>>
>>>we saw up until the early 1990s," Malkiel said.
>>
>>>The percentages mirror grading patterns at Princeton from 1987 to 1992.
>>
>>>Very few students supported the change, said student body president
>>
>>>Matthew
>>
>>>Margolin. Of hundreds of undergrads Margolin said he talked to or heard
>>
>>>from
>>
>>>via e-mail, most were far less concerned with their own grade point
>>
>>>averages
>>
>>>than they were with other issues, such as the ability of friends or
>>
>>>roommates to
>>
>>>compete for scholarships with students at other schools with more
>>
>>>liberal
>>
>>>grading.
>>
>>>David Breneman, dean of the Curry School of Education at the University
>>
>  >>of
>>
>>>Virginia, has said grade inflation may date from the Vietnam War era,
>>
>>>when
>>
>>>professors were reluctant to flunk students and consign them to the
>>
>>>draft.
>>
>>>While Princeton suddenly finds itself in a national leadership position
>>
>>>on
>>
>>>the issue, Malkiel said her real aim was ensuring academic integrity.
>>
>>>04/26/04 23:35 EDT
>>
>>>Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. The information contained in the =
>>AP
>>
>>>news
>>
>>>report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise
>>
>>>distributed
>>
>>>without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active
>>
>>>hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL
>>
>>>
>>
>>>
>>
>>>
>>
>>>Norman A. Stahl
>>
>>>Professor and Chair
>>
>>>Literacy Education
>>
>>>GA 147
>>
>>>Northern Illinois University
>>
>>>DeKalb, IL 60115
>>
>>>
>>
>>>Phone: (815) 753-9032
>>
>>>FAX:   (815) 753-8563
>>
>>>[log in to unmask]
>>
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>>=20
>>
>>=20
>>
>>--
>>
>>=20
>>
>>=20
>>
>>Dominic (Nic) J. Voge
>>
>>Study Strategies Program Coordinator
>>
>>University of California, Berkeley
>>
>>Student Learning Center
>>
>>136 Cesar Chavez Student Center  #4260
>>
>>Berkeley, CA 94720-4260
>>
>>=20
>>
>>(510) 643-9278; [log in to unmask]
>>
>>Spring 2004 Office Hours: Mon 3-4; Wed 9-10; Thurs 2-3; & by appointment
>>
>>=20
>>
>>=20
>>
>>"A university is, according to the usual designation, an alma mater,
>>
>>knowing her children one by one, not a foundry, or a mint, or a
>  >
>>treadmill."-John Henry Newman
>>
>>=20
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>
>--
>
>
>Dominic (Nic) J. Voge
>Study Strategies Program Coordinator
>University of California, Berkeley
>Student Learning Center
>136 Cesar Chavez Student Center  #4260
>Berkeley, CA 94720-4260
>
>(510) 643-9278; [log in to unmask]
>Spring 2004 Office Hours: Mon 3-4; Wed 9-10; Thurs 2-3; & by appointment
>
>
>"A university is, according to the usual designation, an alma mater,
>knowing her children one by one, not a foundry, or a mint, or a
>treadmill."-John Henry Newman
>
>To unsubscribe,send a message to [log in to unmask]
>In body type: SIGNOFF LRNASST-L
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>To access LRNASST-L archives,point your web browser to
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--


Dominic (Nic) J. Voge
Study Strategies Program Coordinator
University of California, Berkeley
Student Learning Center
136 Cesar Chavez Student Center  #4260
Berkeley, CA 94720-4260

(510) 643-9278; [log in to unmask]
Spring 2004 Office Hours: Mon 3-4; Wed 9-10; Thurs 2-3; & by appointment


"A university is, according to the usual designation, an alma mater,
knowing her children one by one, not a foundry, or a mint, or a
treadmill."-John Henry Newman

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