Faculty Responses to Grading Task Force
(defined as "an increase in grade point average without a concomitant increase in achievement")
1. Do you feel that grade inflation is a significant issue in the Faculty of Education at this time?
very concerned=5 somewhat concerned =11 not concerned = 8
2. In your own teaching, have you responded to pressure from individual students to raise their grades in order to meet some minimum requirement, such as for a scholarship or continuation in a professional semester?
Never=12 Occasionally=11 Frequently=1 Routinely
3. In your own teaching, have you felt the need to arbitrarily inflate the grades you assigned in a course to bring the class average into line with other sections of the course, or other course offerings in your area?
Never=13 Occasionally=10 Frequently Routinely=1
4. In your own teaching, have you felt the need to arbitrarily lower the grades you assigned in a course to bring the class average into line with other sections of the course, or other course offerings in your area?
Never=19 Occasionally=5 Frequently Routinely
Analysis: Although faculty members express themselves concerned over grade inflation, it would appear that this concern is focused on our colleagues rather than on our own teaching; since we either flatly deny that we have ever been pressured into inflating our grades, or are, at most, only prepared to concede that we have given in "occasionally".
(defined as a grade distribution inappropriately skewed to higher grades -e.g., too many students receiving distinction or great distinction and too few students being failed)
5. Do you feel that grade compression is a significant issue in the Faculty of Education at this time?
very concerned=3 somewhat concerned=15 not concerned=6
6. In your own teaching, do you find yourself reluctant to assign low or failing grades when these are warranted?
Never=10 Occasionally=12 Frequently Routinely=2
7. In your own teaching, did you feel greater pressure before you were tenured to assign high grades and to avoid failing students? (If untenured, do you feel under pressure now?)
Never=10 Occasionally=7 Frequently=4 Routinely=3
Analysis: Again, our concern with grade compression appears to be with other people's grading practices, rather than with our own, as we either deny we have ever given into pressure, or claim that we only do so occasionally. The change in the pattern of responses from #6 to #7 does suggest, however, that those answering "occasionally" in #6 felt the pressure more acutely when untenured.
8. Are you satisfied that our undergraduate students meet or exceed expected professional standards (KSAs) for teacher candidates when they graduate from our faculty?
Not satisfied=2 somewhat satisfied=12 very satisfied=10
9. Are you satisfied that our graduate students meet or exceed expected professional standards for the M.Ed. when they graduate from our faculty?
Not satisfied=2 somewhat satisfied=13 very satisfied=5
10. In your own teaching, have you felt the need to lower expectations/standards (e.g., set fewer or less challenging readings and assignments or provide more 'hand-holding' rather than expect students to work independently, etc.) for any of your undergraduate courses?
Never=7 Occasionally=12 Frequently=3 Routinely=2
11. In your own teaching, have you felt the need to lower expectations/standards for any of your graduate courses? (Leave blank if you have not taught graduate courses)
Never=7 Occasionally=5 Frequently Routinely=2
Analysis: Questions #8 and #9 are skewed towards satisfaction with our alumni. Questions 10 and 11 suggest the somewhat contradictory perception that there has been a generalized decline in standards.
12. Are the grades you assign primarily criterion-referenced (performance measured against defined criteria - as many students as successfully meet criteria may achieve 'A's) or norm-referenced (performance measured relative to other students - only few students receive 'A's regardless of how many others successfully complete assignment)?
Criterion referenced=19 Norm- referenced=0 a combination=4
Analysis: No one in Education Faculty admits to grading solely on 'the curve' anymore, yet much of the discussion around grade inflation / compression reflects norm-referenced assumptions. In criterion-referenced systems, the higher the proportion of students who are raised to the required standard, the greater the cause for celebration. Concerns over grade inflation only make sense when one wishes to compare and rank students.
13. Would you support inclusion of the class average on student transcripts?
14. Would you support revising the PSI and PSII grade conversion table to be consistent with other faculties? That is, revert to the conversion standard in use prior to 2002?
Yes=14 No =6
Analysis: The straw vote on these two issues would seem to favour:
15. What issues would you like the Grading Task Force to address? What is your greatest concern or difficulty with assessment?
Concerns related to inflation/compression (6 )
Concerns related to consistency across sections (3)
PSI/PSII conversion table (1)
Student Course Evaluations (1):
Other Evaluation Concerns (6)
© Robert Runté 2005. This site last updated: May 12, 2005