It had to happen

The University of Wisconsin pushes distributional equity in grades.  Seems fair enough.  Why should the smart kids get the good grades?  They already have enough advantages.

Why grade at all, since we have lost all confidence in our ability to make judgments about whether students know more at the end of the year than at the beginning?


E Hines said...

Why grade at all....

Confidence or no, it's like recommendations for a newly...let go...employee. Not writing a grade--a favorable one, mind you--is itself discriminatory.

Eric Hines

james said...

I must not have read the proposal carefully enough. Not that it mattered. It was pretty obvious from the get-go that the request for comments was purely formal. The only comment of mine that wasn't ignored was misrepresented in the reply report.

The official word is that the grade equality interpretation is the result of an oversight and that we shouldn't be silly. Probably was, too; I overlooked it.

Some of the other goals are almost certainly going to be dead letters: a prof can't do much about who signs up for his course, so I predict most will blithely ignore the goals, and meet administration complaints with push-back about recruitment.

I left my crystal ball in my other pants, so take this for what it's worth, but I think the net result will be hiring more outreach and recruitment people, and raising the tuition to account for that.

If it brings in money the administration can be protective, and research programs and football do. I don't think they'll be monkeying around with anything that might hurt the revenue stream.

Grim said...

I knew of a private high school that didn't give grades, only professor comments on student performance. It was a longstanding practice, dating to the school's founding by hippies who thought that grades were an attempt to create pegs out of children, instead of appreciating their unique and individual nature.

They finally had to give up the practice, though, because students were having trouble getting admitted to colleges. Turns out college administrators didn't want to read through hundreds of pages of comments on the student's unique abilities, they just wanted an easy-to-use metric to sort their capacities against hundreds or thousands of other students competing for admission.


MikeD said...

My school system had similar problems for different reasons. In order to show how "elite" students in our district were (or some such nonsense... I never found out the issued reason), the grading scale used in my county were rather strict:
100-95 A
94-88 B
87-80 C
79-75 D
74-0 F

So you could be failing a class that would be a C in neighboring school districts. But apparently this made it harder for kids in our district to get into colleges for some reason! Can you imagine? So instead of returning the grading scale to the same one used all over the country, they decided to just inflate the GPA numbers by making an A a 5.0, B 4.0, and so on.

Cass said...

The school my son and daughter in law graduated from doesn't issue letter grades except on request. Almost everyone who graduates from there goes on to grad school.

Of course St. John's wasn't founded by hippies :p It's been around since the 1700s and started as a Maryland free school in 1696. 4 of the founders were signers of the Declaration of Independence :p

Ymar Sakar said...

A students should give up their As to the D students. That's how wealth redistributes in DC, at least.

Clinton didn't send Chelsea to a hippy school. Neither did the Husseins, or rather the Obamas.

The aristocrats don't cra in their own villa, that's for the peasants and untouchables to clean up.