Friday, October 21, 2005

Grade Deflation at Princeton

Well it looks like Princeton has been able to bring average grades down with their new policy. The press release discusses the benefits this policy has had by giving those in the softer disciplines a spine. I mean an ability to "call them as they see them".

In English, to take another example, the approach was to use the new grading expectations to enhance rather than abridge the ability of the faculty to employ their own expertise and experience to make informed grading decisions. The chair suggested to the faculty "that we view the policy as a tool to help us call grades as we see them and to resist the impulse to award high and higher grades for work we know is undeserving. Together we agreed that no one knew better than faculty themselves how to evaluate their students' work, and we decided that each faculty member would keep the expectations in mind and be trusted to do the right thing. Before mid-terms and once again before finals, colleagues were reminded via email of the new guidelines. We also distributed to faculty and preceptors guidelines about the meaning of particular grades, and we scheduled a special meeting with preceptors to discuss these. Upon reviewing the grade sheets in January, I concluded that efforts had indeed been honestly made to lower grades and we would stay this particular course."

Commenting on the results for 2004-05, Dean of the College Nancy Malkiel congratulated the faculty on making significant headway in implementing Princeton's new institutional grading expectations. "Many departments are at or very close to the desired standards; in others, while there is more work to be done, the progress made in a very short time has been nothing short of remarkable. Culture change is hard to achieve, and we always imagined that it would take several years to implement the new grading expectations. We are clearly on our way."

Keywords: Grade Inflation

No comments: