Eleanor Barkhorn explains how grade deflation can work wonders

by Mr. Sheehy

Midway through my time at Princeton, though, the school adopted new grading standards. Starting my junior fall, professors could give out only a limited number of A-range grades. The change prompted lots of anxiety and indignation from the student body—and now, nine years later, it may be rolled back. But for me, “grade deflation” was a much-needed kick in the pants. I started reading more carefully, taking more diligent notes, developing relationships with my professors and their teaching assistants. I ended up learning a lot more and enjoying my classes in a much deeper way. Yes, hard-working students should be rewarded with good grades. But a very good way to inspire students to work hard in the first place is to make good grades worth something.

Eleanor Barkhorn, explaining one way grade “deflation” helped her. I think it is important to separate deflation or the old view of grades from the bell curve, which insists that some students fail. One can reduce the inflation of what an A is without failing students who are doing adequate work. The world would benefit if we teachers were more willing to defend C’s.

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