Archive

An A’s declining worth: Earning what’s fair | TribLIVE.com
Editorials

An A’s declining worth: Earning what’s fair

njlonagrad6061517
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
North Allegheny graduates toss their caps in celebration June 9, 2017.
njlonagrad6061517
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
North Allegheny graduates toss their caps in celebration June 9, 2017.

The “curve” on which students once were graded has been distorted beyond recognition by grade inflation at the high-school level, where the portion of graduates with A grade-point averages “has grown sharply over the past generation, even as average SAT scores have fallen,” USA Today reports.

Researchers from the SAT-running College Board and the University of Georgia found grade-A-average students increased from 38.9 percent of high-school graduates in 1998 to 47 percent in 2016. During that period, however, they also found the “average SAT score fell from 1,026 to 1,002 on a 1,600-point scale.” And as high-school grads’ average SAT scores fell over those 18 years, their average GPA rose from 3.27 to 3.88, according to a Harvard Graduate School of Education study.

It’s all too reminiscent of what’s been going on in higher education since the 1960s — when, GradeInflation.com founder and former Duke University scholar Stuart Rojstaczer says, professors increasingly issued higher grades to keep students from dropping out and losing their college deferments from the Vietnam-era draft. Today, he says, almost half of all college grades are A grades.

It’s incumbent upon teachers, students, parents, school boards, superintendents, state and federal education officials and the College Board to address average SAT scores’ disconnect with high-school grades. Otherwise, high-school A grades will remain worth less than they were decades ago — or lose even more value.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.