Posted: 12 May 2004
Copyright 2004 by Frederick B. Meekins
USED WITH PERMISSION
Throughout the course of contemporary educational history, the phenomena of grade inflation has come to plague the assessment of students as academic standards are relaxed and professors grow reluctant to be overly critical of students for fear of various kinds of reprisals --- be they administrative, collegial, or even violent in nature.
Instead of applying a solution inspired of the rigors of the free market and the glories of individual achievement where professors increase the quality of their courses and where students must actually apply themselves to earn the grades they receive, leave it to a bunch of half-wit educators mired in untenable theories to devise a solution as devoid of commonsense as the useless courses most of them teach.
To combat the issue of grade inflation at Princeton (see article at: http://daily.stanford.edu/tempo?page=content&id=13925&repository=0001_article), it has been proposed that the number of "A's" be capped at 35% in any undergraduate course. Seems some people can't get over the thrill of imposing solutions from above.
Like the socialism upon which the proposal is modeled with its appeal to look to centralized authority to solve all of life's problems, grade quotas will be a flop in real life.
The primary concerns that arise are if the course content remains the same, what happens to students falling outside the 35% limit and how will it be determined on what side of the divide a student happens to fall if by objective assessment criteria more than 35% of the students actually deserve an "A"? Will it be alphabetical with tough toenails to those further down the list towards the middle and the end?
Even worse, those addicted to quotas in addressing other contentious social issues might apply their same specious reasoning to the matter of scholastic evaluations.
To get around growing opposition to minority preferences, the University of Texas (see article at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,118242,00.html) has gotten around the issue by factoring race in what administrators characterize as a "holistic approach" in determining whether an applicant is worthy of matriculation.
In the minds of those favoring such nonsense, Blacks and other minorities are "more whole" because of the hardships these groups have endured and enjoy harping about to no end, thus making them more worthy of academic spoils than your run-of-the-mill White person. But why anyone thinks Bill Cosby's or Jesse Jackson's brats have overcome more adversity than an Appalachian hillbilly is beyond me.
Such an asinine train of thought could be utilized by professors constrained by the grading quota and with a penchant for social manipulation.
Since there would be only so many "A's" to go around, race mongering academics might argue that no longer can they be dispersed solely on the basis of objective epistemological effort. Instead, high grades must be dispensed holistically to students from deprived and underprivileged backgrounds (code words meaning non-Whites of courses, primarily Blacks and Hispanics).
It's holistic all right; those advocating this nonsense --- be it in reference to admissions, grades, or Affirmative Action in general --- are full of a whole lot of you know what.
Thanks to big government interference in America's system of higher education, a college degree isn't what it use to be with subsidies making such a credential available to almost anyone ---- whether they deserve it or not --- making a degree little more than a glorified high school diploma and next to worthless in setting the individual ahead of the pack in terms of employment prospects. It's doubtful the nation's colleges and universities could withstand anymore misguided tinkering.