Grade Inflation

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by NateT, May 26, 2005.

  1. NateT

    NateT
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    0
    Especially to those of you who are profs and can compare notes to now and when you got your degrees:

    Have the grades at the seminary level suffered from "Grade Inflation"?
     
  2. NateT

    NateT
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    0
    When I talk to former students they tell me how much they had to read and how much work they had to do etc. It is not a walk in the park for me, but so far it has not been anywhere near the difficulty I was preparing for. (and I'm taking the 'tough' proffessors.)

    Additionally, I was talking to a fellow student who just got an A- on a paper. He said he didn't think he deserved that because he doesn't write that well, and would rather get a D paper if it was worth a D and then tell him what to do to improve.
     
  3. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    I have been told first hand by a former professor and others who knew about it at SWBTS who was pushed to ease up on the students and make things easier for them so that larger classes could be taught. The seminary did not like it so well that few would take him becuase he made you work so hard. I was also told by a person who would know first hand that the academic standards have dropped and they have attempted to cover it up. It was his job to ensure that the academic standards were upheld.
     
  4. NateT

    NateT
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think you should hold students to a very high level. If they don't like it and drop, that's fine, maybe they weren't that serious to begin with. There is nothing wrong with being a C student in a very hard class. It is probably better than an A student in a "simple" class.
     
  5. JGrayhound

    JGrayhound
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2003
    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have concerns about grade inflation.

    But, I also wonder if the grading scale is too high as well. Most colleges are on a 10pt scale...but the seminary I'm at the scale is much higher.
    It is kind of ridiculous to get a 95% in a class and not get an A, in my opinion.
     
  6. NateT

    NateT
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    0
    JGrayhound...

    SBTS does make it difficult. Everyone in my family that I talked to after I got a 92 on a paper in Dr. Akin's theology class said "wow that's great" and I said "yeah, its a B+." They couldn't believe it.

    However, if it was changed to a 90/80/70/60 as my undergraduate had, I'd easily have a 4.0. I think that would be too easy.

    Just my 2 cents
     
  7. JGrayhound

    JGrayhound
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2003
    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, I wouldn't want to make it a 10pt scale....actually, I have no real solution, I just find it weird to get a 95 and have an A- or a 92 and have a B+.

    My GPA has not suffered or anything...just pointing soemthing that just "feels" weird.
     
  8. Broadus

    Broadus
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    0
    Grade inflation is difficult to assess because so much of the evidence, both now and from the past, is anecdotal. When I was at SBTS, grades seemed to be across the board, at least in the School of Theology. There were plenty of B's and C's, a few D's, and some A's. It's really hard to judge without the seminaries releasing average GPA's.

    Bill
     
  9. paidagogos

    paidagogos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's real and it's everywhere. Our society has changed and schools have to grapple with this reality. People don't handle adversity (i.e. low grades) well today.
     
  10. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    I am a believer that the standards should be held high and the professor should give as much attention to students as they need to be successful.

    Good accountable instruction has high rewards. If a professor has high standards the student knows if he has done his best to become the best he is cappeble of becoming. The standards a professor holds should help the student to realisitically evaluate their potential performance in the real world.

    The professsors who expect little from their students often do not really know what it takes for the student to be successful in the real world.
     
  11. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    Two semester ago I had a student write on an evaluation that one way he could have done better was to memorize the book. That's about right. I hold them accountable for the material in the book and lecture. I tell all my students that they will need to spend at least three hours outside of class for each hour in class. In some classes they will spend about five. Once they find out I am serious they begin to work harder, their gardes improve and their atttitude is much different. The class is alo much easier to teach because they come prepared.
     
  12. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Messages:
    15,125
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree completely with this. Looking back on my education there are 2 professors that stand out above the rest. One was a history professer in college and the other was my preaching professor in seminary. Each of them demanded high standards, yet each demanded high standards of themselves as well and were willing to go the extra mile for the serious student. In the moment, I did not always enjoy their classes, but looking back they made a huge impact on my life and I have went back and thanked each of them for pushing me in my education.
     
  13. StefanM

    StefanM
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Messages:
    6,422
    Likes Received:
    72
    A major problem in this matter concerns what other schools do.

    With a school like Harvard, if you walk out with a 2.4 GPA, you probably aren't going to lose all that much. The name recognition of Harvard will carry you.

    With a lesser-known school, if you walk out with a 2.4 GPA, you might have quite a bit of difficulty because you can't rely on name recognition.

    Lesser-known schools can't truly afford to give out many low grades without seriously handicapping their graduates. If prospective students get wind of this, then they will "get out of Dodge."

    No one wants low grades. It is nice to see 4.0 on your transcript. Some might object and say, "I want my grades to reflect my knowledge/coursework, and if I deserve a D, I want a D." Sure, that might be fine in a world where cum laude was extremely difficult to obtain no matter where you go, but who wants to go up against someone of the exact same academic caliber with your 2.0 GPA against her 3.86 GPA??

    ----
    I object to the idea of applying a Bell curve to determine grades. Classes with a low quality of students should not be rewarded with undeserved high grades, and classes with a high quality of students should not be punished with undeserved low grades.

    Additionally, in this situation, you have an interesting phenomenon. The best students, instead of being respected, are reviled. Other students blame the superior student for their low grades (and this is to some extent true), and the good student becomes a pariah.

    ----------

    I think the extremely high grading scales are ridiculous. I like the idea of 90/80/70/60 coupled with challenging content. This way, the A is possible but not easy. If there are "too many" As, make the class harder. Problem solved.

    ----------

    Why does grade inflation occur? I think it's the domino effect from high school. In my experience, the average high school course was a joke. Most of the time if you showed up in some form, you got at least a C. If you made an attempt, you got a B. If you actually did what was required, you got an A.

    This idea is incorrect:

    A- excellent
    B- good
    C- average
    D- poor
    F- fail

    This is a bit closer to reality in most of the high schools I've known:

    A- fulfilled requirements
    B- deficient in a few areas
    C- deficient in many areas
    D- barely coherent
    F- stayed at home

    When you have high school set up like this, what is a college to do? Slap a straight-A student in high school with a parade of Cs? If so, good luck on retaining any of your freshman class. The problem might extend to grad school in the same fashion, but I would think the effects wouldn't be a strong because society doesn't have the expectation of grad school like it now has of college.
     
  14. Martin

    Martin
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Messages:
    5,228
    Likes Received:
    0
    As far as Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary is concerned, I have felt that the grading is fair. Those tests, papers, and other assignments I thought I did fair on, I got a fair grade. Those I thought I did well on...I usually got a good grade. There were a few tests where T/F questions were used in part and those questions always bring my grade down a few points. I can know something well but if you ask me a question about it in a T/F format I usually get confused. I do well on essay questions, m/c questions, and term papers (etc).

    I don't think LBTS is guilty of grade inflation. I would, however, get rid of any T/F questions since they are ranked in the lowest bracket on the Bloom's taxonomy scale. No decent educator should ever use T/F to test a subject. When I start teaching I will never use T/F question on tests (maybe on a quiz). I imagine all of my tests will be essay/short answer. Those tests allow the student to explain the information (ie..what he/she actually knows) and the teacher can give the student a grade based on their actual knowledge. In general T/F and M/C test are quiz shows. :rolleyes:

    Btw, I like the general seminary/grad school grading scale. It holds students to a higher standard and requires a much higher academic performance. Schools should never "dumb down" the academics so students can do better, nor should they change the grading scale to give the illusion students are doing better.

    Martin
     
  15. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Grade inflation was a real problem when teaching in Bible College. Why? Many of the teachers were well qualified in their field but NOT strong in education. They did not understand the dynamics of grading.

    I always used a standard 10-point for Bible classes (since anything below a C- 70) would not apply to the major. And the 7-point for all other classes (since that put a D- 70) would still count as credits.

    In all classes, all students knew the grading system, points per test, daily work, quiz, project, paper, presentations, etc. Each could get an "A" or an "F" or anywhere inbetween.

    And I could point to solid collegiate requirements met, graded and credit earned.
     
  16. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    It is so easy to make a grade for the class. You can make a class so hard that nobody would pass and so easy that everyone would pass. So to make it an arbitrary 93-100 an A is no different than 90, 80, 70. Grading is so subjective.
     
  17. Pipedude

    Pipedude
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    0
    The field of "tests and measurement" is an intensely studied, highly developed discipline. But a PhD can get a job teaching college without knowing 10% of what the girl teaching sixth grade at the Christian school knows about grading.

    Speaking generally, if the scale is 93-100, then the test is constructed to cohere with that scale.

    If, instead, grading is "so subjective," the teacher is at fault.
     
  18. paidagogos

    paidagogos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    0
    Grade inflation is real, it's here and it stinks. Actually, it's an artifact of our culture since we speak in superlatives. That's the legacy Peale has left us with his positive thinking. A good dose of reality cures positive thinking. Try it sometime.
     
  19. Humblesmith

    Humblesmith
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've done secular grad work and found it to be much easier than seminary. Maybe it's because I care more and push myself more, or maybe it's because my seminary is harder, I'm not sure. I think it's the latter.

    As for the type of test questions, that's my field. Typically, the reason T/F questions come out so poor is not because of Bloom's taxonomy, but because of the nature of how T/F questions must be written. Do this as an experiment: change them to Yes/No questions, and you'll usually immediately see the improvement. I agree that essay is generally better for measuring the upper level concepts, but the type of question is not always as much of an issue as whether they've been written well. Most people have never studied how to write good questions.

    That being said, so far I do not recall any thing other than short answer or essay questions on any seminary test.
     

Share This Page

Loading...