Friday, August 8, 2014

Solution to Grade Inflation: A Modest Proposal

There is a report that a Princeton committee wants to do away with a quota on A grades:

A faculty committee at Princeton University has recommended that the institution scrap its policy limiting the A’s handed out by each department, over time, to 35 percent of grades. The group, which was formed last fall by the university’s president, Christopher L. Eisgruber, concluded in a report that the 35-percent targets were “too often misinterpreted as quotas” and made students worry that “they are competing for a limited resource of A grades.”  The policy was established in 2004 to combat grade inflation. Three years later, university officials said the policy was working, citing a decline in the percentage of A’s across the university...

Full article at

The real problem with grade inflation is that when everyone gets an A, it is hard to differentiate between one student and another in terms of achievement.  Of course, there is the A+ but that grade can fill up, too.  So why not add unused letters from the back of the alphabet.  We could have XYZABCD and F.  It would take awhile before everyone gets to X.  But when they do, we can go to UVWXYZABCE and F.  Now eventually, we will still run out of unused letters.  But that assumes we are confined to the Romance alphabet.  There are others such as the Greek alphabet.  Or we could just go to numbers that have no limit.  ...321ABCD and F.  Just a thought for our friends at Princeton.  If it works there, maybe it would work at UC.

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