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Teacher Preparation Opinion

Ed School Faculty Handbook: Students Deem Any Grade Below A- a Negative Appraisal...

By Rick Hess — September 13, 2011 1 min read

I didn’t really mean for yesterday’s quick post on Cory Koedel’s paper on grade inflation for education majors to become a multi-post arc. However, after this morning’s post, I received a note from a colleague who teaches at one of the nation’s top-ranked schools of education.

The source was scared of being identified and sanctioned by fellow faculty members, so asked that I leave both them and their institution anonymous. But the source did share with me a PDF of page six from the school of education’s faculty handbook, the page on which “grading” is addressed. The guidance is pretty telling, and I thought it worth sharing. So, here’s the key passage:

Grades are generally rather inflated at [University X], where everyone is considered above average, and this is especially true at [the School of Education]. Most faculty here assign grades in the A and B+ range: A and A- are by far the most common grades, B+ is less frequently given and A+ is rare, but B, B-, C+ and C are not unknown. In this context, students consider anything below an A- a distinctly negative appraisal of their work. Graduate students need a C in order to get credit for a course, and they need to maintain a B average to be in good standing. I'm not telling you this in order to encourage you to give everyone A's. It's ok to grade below the norm; but I want you to understand the context within your which your grades will be interpreted by students. Keeping all this in mind, you should feel free to assign grades that correspond with your judgment about the quality of a student's work.

In an exceptionally pithy take, the source notes that this guidance simultaneously “bemoans and codifies” the existent lax standards.

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