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Grade Inflation?

The article on the University of Michigan's new organic chemistry course (The Scientist, Feb. 3, 1992, page 6) provoked in me something akin to an allergic reaction. Consider, for example, this quote: "Their approach seems to be working. In a class of nearly 1,000 students, nearly 75 percent earned an A or B.... Less than 1 percent failed; more significantly, only 2 percent dropped the course. In contrast, when professors grade students on a curve, the results are considerably fewer high grades

Jeffrey Bell
The article on the University of Michigan's new organic chemistry course (The Scientist, Feb. 3, 1992, page 6) provoked in me something akin to an allergic reaction. Consider, for example, this quote: "Their approach seems to be working. In a class of nearly 1,000 students, nearly 75 percent earned an A or B.... Less than 1 percent failed; more significantly, only 2 percent dropped the course. In contrast, when professors grade students on a curve, the results are considerably fewer high grades and many more failing grades."

I'm not one who needs a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing. Next semester, I've decided to give everyone in my course an A. I'll be happier, the students will be happier, and my university will be recognized for another innovative contribution to science education.

Can't we find a more reliable measure of accomplishment than grade inflation? I am not...

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