Opinion: The cost of grade inflation

Have you ever heard the rumor that if your roommate dies, you immediately earn a 4.0 GPA for that semester? If you have, I bet that you have also conjured up some sort of bad horror movie plot in that sick brain of yours, thinking of all the possible ways to kill your roommate and get away with it, all for that 4.0. Luckily for you (and your roommate too), your perfect GPA can be achieved without committing homicide.

Courtesy of j_mills/Flickr

Courtesy of j_mills/Flickr
Is grade inflation tarnishing our GPAs?

This great accomplishment can be reached all thanks to grade inflation, which is causing BC’s GPAs to rise at an unprecedented rate. If the current trend continues, it seems as though students will soon receive nothing but A's and A-'s. This grade inflation has gotten out of control, and it will simply cause students to expect to get A’s even if their work is below standard. Nothing in life comes easy – and good grades should be no exception.

Courtesy of najarich/Flickr

Courtesy of najarich/Flickr
More time should be spent here to earn that A.

Princeton University is highly criticized for its well-known grade deflation policy, which demands that each department only give A’s to 35 percent of students. Although cruel on the surface, this policy ensures that students really exert themselves to get the grade they desire. It does not allow for slacking off, and it does not create students who feel entitled to A’s. This feeling of entitlement is common at Boston College, and grade inflation is doing nothing but feeding that.

Those against grade deflation often argue that it will decrease their chances of getting into graduate schools. However, Princeton University has shown increased employment and graduate school acceptance since their grade deflation policies have been implemented. In fact, grade inflation, if anything, takes away from the true achievement that is a perfect GPA. If everyone gets that 4.0, then the once-coveted GPA will be meaningless to graduate schools and future employers. Grades have become an unfaithful representation of achievement and understanding. Graduate schools and employers want remarkable graduates who perform above average, and grade deflation pushes students to practice this sort of exceptional work.

If Boston College wishes to remain a credible, respected institution, then action must be taken to stop grade inflation. Grade inflation makes the university seem like a place that does not care about its academic standards. Professors who hand out undeserved A's have a false sense not only of their students’ performance, but also their own performance as educators. Whether or not students are actually learning the necessary material remains unknown, as their test scores are scaled and curved to such an extent that they really do not reflect the students’ understanding at all.

Without solid understanding of important materigavel4al, students who go out into the real world after graduation may struggle to apply their knowledge in the job industry or graduate studies. If BC wishes to breed capable students and hold its name as a reputable university, it should do a better job of ensuring the students are getting the education and grades they deserve.

Many students, not only at Boston College but also at universities across the country, are doing college wrong. Instead of getting the most out of the education that we are lucky enough to have, we do the bare minimum to get the A and call it a day. Although grade deflation is harsh, it does hold students to a higher standard. If all colleges and universities were to put a grade deflation policy into effect, students would be pushed to new limits. Although professors may feel like they are doing students a favor by inflating their grades, they are in fact hindering their growth. Motivation to learn decreases when apparent success can be achieved with less effort.