A's on the rise but SAT scores fall

Mar 2012
60,049
41,491
New Hampshire
The good news on America's report cards: More high school teachers are handing out A's. But the bad news is that students aren't necessarily learning more.

Recent findings show that the proportion of high school seniors graduating with an A average — that includes an A-minus or A-plus — has grown sharply over the past generation, even as average SAT scores have fallen.

In 1998, it was 38.9%. By last year, it had grown to 47%. That’s right: Nearly half of America’s Class of 2016 are A students. Meanwhile, their average SAT score fell from 1,026 to 1,002 on a 1,600-point scale — suggesting that those A's on report cards might be fool's gold.

A recent study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education found that just 56% of college students complete a four-year degree within six years of entering college. For students who start at two-year colleges, it's even worse: Just 29% earn a degree within three years. Examining the academic transcripts of high school graduates in the 18-year period from 1998 to 2016, they found that the average grade point average (GPA) rose from 3.27 to 3.38, even as the average SAT score dropped.

previous research has tied high school GPA to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a widely respected standardized test administered by the federal government. But the new research is the first to draw such a direct line between GPA and SAT scores.

Recent research suggests that the problem isn’t just showing up in high school. In colleges nationwide, the most popular grade is now an A, according to Stuart Rojstaczer, a former Duke University scholar and founder of the website GradeInflation.com. According to Rojstaczer, close to 50% of all college grades given are A’s, a far cry from even two decades ago, when the average GPA at a four-year college was 3.11.


https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/07/17/easy-a-nearly-half-hs-seniors-graduate-average/485787001/
 
May 2012
70,527
14,303
By the wall
I give out a plethora of A's when I have to grade.

Especially if its a dumb assignment and its obvious they put effort into it.

Everyone grades differently though.

Many grade very mechanically, make this many errors, count them up, cross reference it with their grading card, and that's your grade.

I think that's a stupid way to grade.

I suppose I am screwed if I ever get challenged on a grade lol.
 
Mar 2012
60,049
41,491
New Hampshire
I give out a plethora of A's when I have to grade.

Especially if its a dumb assignment and its obvious they put effort into it.

Everyone grades differently though.

Many grade very mechanically, make this many errors, count them up, cross reference it with their grading card, and that's your grade.

I think that's a stupid way to grade.

I suppose I am screwed if I ever get challenged on a grade lol.
A teacher at our school once told me "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" referring to parents that complain. When they did she would change their kids grade. Wasn't long before parents caught on and most did it. Makes me wonder in the age of the "helicopter parent" how often this happens?
 
May 2012
70,527
14,303
By the wall
A teacher at our school once told me "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" referring to parents that complain. When they did she would change their kids grade. Wasn't long before parents caught on and most did it. Makes me wonder in the age of the "helicopter parent" how often this happens?
I've only graded some college stuff so that was never an issue.

My ex taught middle school and said that dealing with the parents was by far the worse part of the job so I imagine you are correct.
 
Sep 2016
24,563
20,141
My own world
I see it for myself. I used to have to work my ass off to get a B and on the occasion I got an A it was historic. Never did I get an A+. The average number in my class years ago were about 30 kids and out of that number maybe 1 or 2 kids had an A average. Now a days they hand out A's like candy and A+'s are common place.

I don't think the kids are smarter, I think the teachers are easier at grading.
 
Last edited:
Mar 2012
60,049
41,491
New Hampshire
I see it for myself. I used to have to work my ass off to get a B and on the occasion I got an A it was historic. Never did I get an A+. The average number in my class years ago were about 30 kids and out of that number maybe 1 or 2 kids had an A average. Now a days they hand out A's like candy and A+'s are common place.

I don't think the kids are smarter, I think the teachers are easier at grading.
They have to be, parents are insane. When my son was in high school, there were groups of parents who wanted to sit in on the first week of class. Helicopter parents. Plus now with the internet and forums parents go on and rate teachers. "Johnny needs better grades for college, which are the best teachers for that?" kind of stuff.
 
Jan 2014
19,004
5,542
California
The good news on America's report cards: More high school teachers are handing out A's. But the bad news is that students aren't necessarily learning more.

Recent findings show that the proportion of high school seniors graduating with an A average — that includes an A-minus or A-plus — has grown sharply over the past generation, even as average SAT scores have fallen.

In 1998, it was 38.9%. By last year, it had grown to 47%. That’s right: Nearly half of America’s Class of 2016 are A students. Meanwhile, their average SAT score fell from 1,026 to 1,002 on a 1,600-point scale — suggesting that those A's on report cards might be fool's gold.

A recent study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education found that just 56% of college students complete a four-year degree within six years of entering college. For students who start at two-year colleges, it's even worse: Just 29% earn a degree within three years. Examining the academic transcripts of high school graduates in the 18-year period from 1998 to 2016, they found that the average grade point average (GPA) rose from 3.27 to 3.38, even as the average SAT score dropped.

previous research has tied high school GPA to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a widely respected standardized test administered by the federal government. But the new research is the first to draw such a direct line between GPA and SAT scores.

Recent research suggests that the problem isn’t just showing up in high school. In colleges nationwide, the most popular grade is now an A, according to Stuart Rojstaczer, a former Duke University scholar and founder of the website GradeInflation.com. According to Rojstaczer, close to 50% of all college grades given are A’s, a far cry from even two decades ago, when the average GPA at a four-year college was 3.11.


https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/07/17/easy-a-nearly-half-hs-seniors-graduate-average/485787001/
bajisima,

I heard the same thing on Freakenomics Radio almost 5 years ago. Not just grades are being inflated, but almost everything. A size 36 waste in clothing today would have been a 38 ten years ago. A 5 star hotel used to be the top of the line, but now they are advertising 6 and 7 star hotels, etc., etc.

The Inflation of Everything - Freakonomics Freakonomics

I do remember my best professor in college, my structures design professor, refused to grade on the curve. It wasn't uncommon that the highest grade on a test was in the mid-80s. It was one of the classes that really stuck with me.
 

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
78,680
48,800
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
I do remember my best professor in college, my structures design professor, refused to grade on the curve. It wasn't uncommon that the highest grade on a test was in the mid-80s.
Grading on a curve is not logical.