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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

High expectations, no grade inflation

Rebecca+Noble+%2F+The+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AProfessor+John.+P.+Willerton+lectures+on+Russian+culture+in+the+Social+Sciences+building+on+Wednesday%2C+November+6th.
Rebecca Noble
Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildcat Professor John. P. Willerton lectures on Russian culture in the Social Sciences building on Wednesday, November 6th.

Last year, the Harvard University campus newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, wrote an article that claimed the average grade at the university was an A- and made the act of grade inflation a topic of debate. Grade inflation is the act of giving a student a grade they did not really deserve.

Albrecht Classen, a professor and undergraduate adviser in the department of German studies, believes that grade inflation does occur at the UA.

“I am afraid it probably happens,” Classen said, “but the university does its best to try and prevent it.”

The main problem with grade inflation is that anything besides an A is not enough any more, Classen said.

Classen believes that one of the reasons grade inflation is occurring is because of the higher cost of education.

“It is hard to fail someone in a class,” Classen said. “A failed class could mean financial ruin for some students.”

However, Classen feels that professionalism and trust must come over sympathy.

“We need a stronger sense of community,” Classen said. “The more staff and students know each other, the more incentive both parties will have to be ethical.”

While Classen believes that grade inflation does occur, he also thinks the university has a good grading system in place.

“We have detailed grading rubrics to make sure our staff grades consistently,” Classen said. “We want to make our grading as transparent as possible to the students.”

Bill Montfort, a professor of biochemistry, believes that grade inflation is not a problem in his department. “Grading has been pretty consistent for the 20 plus years I have been here,” Montfort said. “We have a strong student base so we always have A’s, but also bad grades.”

Montfort does not believe that the university has a grade inflation problem, but feels the best way to fight grade inflation is to hire good staff.

“Hire people with good standards,” Montfort said. “You just need people with integrity and with a high bar.”

Hannah Milner, a senior violin performance major, feels that grade inflation is not a problem in her major.

“I feel like I have a problem with grade deflation,” Milner said. “Most of the time, I feel like I got a low grade I did not deserve.”

Milner believes that the issue about grade inflation can be prevented if teachers expect more from their students.

“When my teachers give me a bad grade, it gives me more incentive to do better,” Milner said. “If you don’t give students the grades they deserve, then they are not going to be prepared for the real world.”

—Follow Max Lancaster @MaxLancaster9

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