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Grade deflation?

December 25, 2010

A common complaint one hears is that of “grade inflation”. Although, as a math instructor, the complaints often go the other way: “the average on your test was 45/100??!?!?!”. Some professors, unhappy with grade inflation, have been known to give real grades and nominal grades. For instance they might give a nominal grade of A that gets entered in the transcript and a real grade of C that only informs the student about the real level of proficiency achieved.

Here is an alternative proposal: have a tuition scale whereby one pays less for every A one gets and progressively pays more for B,C,D etc…In other words, instead of just one uniform credit price, we would have a menu with cheap A-credits and more expensive D-credits. This would work on two different fronts: professors would be more reluctant in giving out “easy” A’s because it would mean less money for the university, and on the other hand students would have an incentive to work harder.

Can anyone think of unintended consequences?

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From → Incentives

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