Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Grade Inflation

I finished the fall 2 for 2, two more A’s in the two classes I took. The GPA is now rolling along at 3.933 (I had a B and 2 A’s my first semester in 2006, during the time of my first cancer surgery, since then all A’s so I am pretty happy). Just great, I finally get grades worth bragging about in my graduate work, but no one cares about the GPA except during your baccalaureate work. There’s no ‘honor roll’ or ‘dean’s list’ for Master’s candidates, although I can hope for a bit of glory if my team places in the Case Competition this coming Spring.

Unfortunately, there’s another probem to deal with. I’ve worked hard to get good grades, but from what I see it’s not exceptionally hard to get good grades. Granted, there’s a floor of credentials to get into an MBA program, but even so it appears that depending on the professor, about 33-40% of any given class earns an A in the course, with about 50-55% earning a B and the rest generally earn C or worse. Obviously, at the graduate level a C is a warning, UHV for example kicks a candidate out of the program if they earn a C more then twice during the program, and any D or F ends the run right there. The problem with that, is that I think this makes the professors a bit reluctant to hand out anything below a B, even for those students who have really earned those grades. This means a kind of discount for the better students, by that I mean the ones who really do everything required for an A, who make up maybe 25% of a class but who see less qualified students receive the same grade. I have to admit that there were one or two classes where a sterner professor might have given me a B instead of an A (UHV does not use B+), but I have seen many more where I worked hard for an A only to see someone get the same grade for far less effort. I don’t want to sound like a snob, but I want the top students of my class to, you know, really be the top students. One thing you will have to consider, if you go back to school for an advanced degree, is what reputation the school will have in the business world for its difficulty and acumen gained by its graduates.

1 comment:

Dr. Bonnette said...

Don't feel badly. When I did my graduate work at the U. of Notre Dame in the early 60's, they were experimenting with a six point system which was virtually unintelligible. No matter what grade you got, it looked good! If you got a 3 or 4, people thought it meant a "B" or "A," and if you got 5's or 6's, they just looked puzzled. You can see why this novelty was quickly terminated. Like your program, since 3 was the minimum passing grade for a grad student, virtually no one got less than a 3, no matter how badly he performed. Of course, the major "cut offs" were the several written and oral candidacy exams, and the dissertation. Even with candidacy established, barely half were lucky enough to finish the dissertation and get the doctorate. Thus, the "weeding out" process somewhat replaced the function of grading. Besides, grades mean little compared to competency. Would you want a neurosurgeon to work on your brain who got "B's?" When you complete your education, you are either competent or you are not.