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The Daily Tar Heel

Take the air out of grades: Faculty should take ?rm stand on grade in?ation

The Faculty Council doesn’t seem to agree on what letter grades mean — one of the underlying problems causing grade inflation at the University.

The council needs to come to a consensus and act to cap grade inflation.

At Friday’s meeting, members of the council voiced their differing views on grade inflation.

The council passed a resolution to further study and discuss this problem. That’s a tepid start.

Every council member needs to realize that they must act to cap grade inflation when the study and conversations on the matter are finished.

Perception is everything. And if UNC is considered an easy institution, it cheapens all degrees from the University, regardless of an individual department’s rigor.

The council needs to draw a line in the sand. Grade inflation should not be allowed to continue unchecked.

The University has set standards for what grades mean.

An A is for students who show outstanding promise in a field and should further their studies in this field.

It’s possible that students deserve the A’s. The University has admitted better students in recent years.

But, as one council member pointed out Friday, as we continue to attract better students, the University should raise its grading standards.

The council needs to realize that giving out A’s 45 percent of the time is a failure on the faculty’s part. It means that the faculty isn’t challenging the bright students who have come here to learn.

One representative said at Friday’s meeting that she was given a specific grading distribution on her first day at the University by her department.

Yet another representative said that no one in her department could tell her what grades mean or how she should give them out.

The contrast is disturbing. It means that some departments are giving out very few A’s while other departments seem to be hemorrhaging them.

This difference shows two polarized grading philosophies at the University. Some faculty reserve A’s for the truly exceptional student, while others give out A’s for good work.

Maintaining the status quo is a disservice to students and will cheapen the degrees we’ve been working for.

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