Saturday, June 12, 2010

Grade & Honors Inflation

At one American academic institution (I suspect there are many, many others) the question arose whether the honor summa cum laude should be awarded to "only" two graduating students or, instead, to a larger number of students (e.g., five or seven students).

What do you think should happen?

Is the appropriate solution to abolish the summa cum laude honor and replace it with "magna almost summa" or "very, very magna"? (As I understand it, the possibility of limiting the award of the summa to one person was not considered.)

  • Question: Is academic "honesty" at issue here? To wit: Is it dishonest or deceptive to award a summa to more than one graduating student?
  • Do only finicky academics or grinches care about matters such as grade inflation and honors creep? (N.B. In defense[?] of the professoriate: Most university professors do not care [or even think] much about the issue of grade inflation or similar issues.)

    Postscript (or whatever): I think grading is the worst part of the job of teaching. This is in part because if a mandatory grading curve applies, the decision to award a high grade is a zero-sum choice. It is also because grades have consequences, serious consequences.


    The dynamic evidence page

    It's here: the law of evidence on Spindle Law. See also this post and this post.

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