How to detect inflated grades at your school

Nov 11, 2013 by

By Jay Mathews –

A parent asked me if trouble at Loudoun Valley High School in Loudoun County meant her daughter’s grades were being inflated. A detailed Oct. 30 article by Danielle Nadler in Leesburg Today said Loudoun Valley Principal Sue Ross was being investigated for allegedly pressuring teachers not to give out bad grades. “The C is the new F at our school,” one teacher was quoted as saying.

Grade inflation in U.S. schools is both troublesome and common. The parent was right to worry. We don’t want our children entering college or the workplace wrongly thinking they can handle the challenge because of lies on their report cards. Fortunately, there are ways for parents to check their school’s commitment to reality.

In this region, college-level courses like Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate have become so pervasive at so many schools that they provide an independent benchmark on grade inflation. In Loudoun County, like several other Washington-area districts, a majority of students take AP, often in several different subjects.

AP teachers can still give a class grade of A to a weak student, but they are less likely to do so because there’s an independent AP exam. If that student does poorly on the AP exam in a typical suburban school, the teacher will be embarrassed and perhaps lose the AP class. (This does not apply to low-income urban schools that think the challenge is good for students even though very few will score well on AP exams.)

via How to detect inflated grades at your school – The Washington Post.

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