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Grade Inflation

By Denebola
Published: November 2008

By Sidrah Baloch

“So, I just FAILED that test.

If the number of failed tests at Newton South were equivalent to the number of times this sentence is heard in hallways and classrooms throughout the school, then we would have an educational crisis on our hands. Hundreds of us would be at risk of not graduating, summer school classes would be over-enrolled with students trying to compensate for their unsuccessful school years, and Newton South High School would definitely not be the sixth most academically successful public school in Massachusetts.

The opinion of many high school students seems to be that a C is the new F, which may be a result of what some educational specialists and many journalists refer to as “grade inflation. The legitimacy of grade inflation is still being debated, particularly because it can only be observed over an extended period of time. Still, it has often been defined as an increase in grades that does not reflect simultaneous increases in students’ scholastic performance. In other words, it has become easier for students to receive high grades than it was when a C still meant average and not failure, and the coveted A was only given in cases of outstanding achievement.

High school has always been a launch pad into the world of “real life, but only recently have students become more anxious about how every inadequate test grade may affect their chances of getting into college.

Some studies suggest that a potential cause for grade inflation could be teachers’ benevolent efforts to increase students’ opportunities of being accepted to colleges, which have become more selective and competitive in recent years. As a result, As and Bs, which are considered honor marks, could become more common than Cs, which are still considered college certifying marks, though not honors.

For many students at Newton South, getting a C on a test or for a given term is disappointing and frustrating. “I try to set high standards for myself, and if I fail to reach those standards, it’s upsetting, sophomore Alex Gershanov said. Still, Gershanov thinks that “grades are really circumstantial, and that it’s difficult to pass judgments on what grades individual students deserve.

On the other hand, many students agree that getting a grade lower than expected can be disheartening, but doesn’t determine a ‘Ëœgood’ or ‘Ëœbad’ student.

“I don’t think it means that I didn’t try, junior Tamar Gaffin-Cahn said, “I just know I can do better.

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