Deflating the Myth of Grade Inflation
by Eric Leventhal, Editor-in-Cheif
The educational system has come a long way from the days of the three R's (Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic). More students than ever before are graduating from high school and attending college. That's why it amazes me that some people are complaining about grade inflation, saying that teachers are handing out too many A's these days; unlike the "good old days" when an, "A was an A." Grade inflation by itself is not a crime. Heck, maybe it should be encouraged! What matters is that students are learning more today than ever before. Therefore, why should we add stress and anxiety to the lives of students who are doing their jobs well?
Let's look at the big picture. The general population as a whole is better educated today than ever before in history. Literacy rates are at record levels, books and other reading materials are more popular than ever, and the common man is generally well informed. In high schools, more students are graduating, and an increasingly large number are choosing to attend colleges and universities. The scores for college entrance exams have also been rising. Recently released SAT scores for this year continue to increase to record highs, indicating that today's students are better educated than their predecessors were. Such success alone proves that grade inflation is not ruining the educational system and that reverting back to earlier methods would do more harm than good.
Tougher grades don't necessarily mean greater learning. Just because a teacher assigns lower grades, it doesn't mean that students will automatically learn more or work harder. For example, Mr. Marino, an English teacher, awarded a total of five A's last year in his four English classes! Obviously, the class must be quite difficult. But the very fact that only five students received an "A" raises some questions. Since such a small percentage of the students achieved academic success, the logical conclusion would be that the rest of the students did not learn as much or work as hard as they could have. Therefore, a tougher grading policy does not necessarily ensure that students will learn more, or even that they will be compelled to work harder.
As statistics demonstrate, high school students today are clearly learning more than their predecessors, thus grade inflation is simply the natural result of their better education. There is nothing wrong with grade inflation, and, on the contrary, it should be celebrated! Why would anyone want to change a system that is working?