How Democratizing the Workplace Can Reverse Grade Inflation and Restore the Quality of American Higher Education

Grade inflation is a serious problem in American universities today. At a time when many are calling into question the quality of higher education in the United States, average GPAs have been steadily rising since the 1980s. Some would like to blame the problem on professors who give in to whining students and their overbearing parents in order to get favorable evaluations. However, the problem is systemic – directly tied to the economic, political, and demographic changes in the U.S. over the last several decades – and will require systemic reform to realistically address. The answer: democratize the enterprise.

Democracy, Not Policy:
How Democratizing the Workplace Can Reverse Grade Inflation and Restore the Quality of American Higher Education

“‘Grade inflation in academia is like the alcoholic brother you pretend is just fine. When someone calls your brother a drunk, you get angry and defend him, although privately you worry. That’s where we are with grade inflation: public denial and private concern.’” That’s how Stuart Rojstaczer, former professor of applied earth sciences at Duke University, describes the issue of grade inflation in American universities in “Doesn’t Anybody Get a C Anymore?”  an article by Phil Primack published in October 2008 in the Boston Globe. Rojstaczer has been working to bring us out of “public denial” since he created gradeinflation.com in 2002, where he posts data, research and articles on the topic. Primack is a professor of journalism at Tufts University, and he cites Rojstaczer’s work as well as quotes him directly in his discussion of grade inflation in American universities. In March 2009, Rojstaczer added two more cents of his own to the conversation: “Grade Inflation Gone Wild,” an article published in the Christian Science Monitor. Both authors draw on a wealth of statistical information and their experience as university professors to show that grade inflation is clearly a major issue, that both students and professors contribute to it, and that it can be effectively addressed if universities institute the correct policies. [Read More]

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