We Seek Endorsements from Mathematics and Science
In their report: Evaluation and the Academy: Are We Doing the Right Thing? released February 2002 by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, authors Henry Rosovsky and Matthew Hartley make the following suggestions concerning characteristics of a good grading system.
- It should be rigorous, accurate, and permit meaningful distinctions among students in
applying a uniform standard of performance.
- It should be fair to students and candid to those who are entitled to information about
- It should be supportive of learning and helpful to students in achieving their educational
We believe the plan presented in A Sample Transcript will accomplish the following:
For these reasons, we believe the plan offered is preferable to the use of the grade scale as a method to depict extent of course content mastery on the academic transcript.
- Meet all three characteristics of a good grading system as stated in the AAAS report.
- Put an immediate end to grade inflation upon adoption.
- Put an immediate end to grade disparity upon adoption.
- Provide important feedback to students informing them both of their academic strengths and also of their weaknesses.
- Provide clarity and purpose to the policy of academic assessment enabling it to meet its three goals as stated by The Higher Learning Commission. These goals are: i) to improve learning, ii) to provide accountability, and iii) to convince the public of the value of investing in higher education.
- Utilize measures of academic assessment to prevent numerical inflation and disparity from replacing grade inflation and grade disparity.
- Make academic assessment nearly automated serving a well defined purpose.
- Dramatically reduce academic dishonesty
- Remove the current incongruity that exists between intrinsic desire to learn and extrinsic motivation to learn in the form of letter grades.
We seek endorsement from members of the scientific community to include Mathematics, Statistics, and the Natural Sciences together with Medical and Veterinary Science, Engineering, and Computer Science. We welcome endorsements and/or comments from Honors programs. We suggest that you read the following sections, perhaps in order. These include: The Cat is Out of the Bag, The Case at Chapel Hill, and, of course, A Sample Transcript. We believe the format suggested for the academic transcript will put an immediate end to the problems of grade inflation and grade disparity. Incentive toward learning is expected to improve by replacing extrinsic motivation in the form of letter grades with intrinsic motivation stemming from competition against the class average. In-class cheating should markedly drop as students protect their standing in the class against those that would rob them of their efforts. Faculty become facilitators of learning no longer hampered by the grade scale standing between them and their students. In addition, a fair and equitable environment is created for both faculty and students in all programs of delivery including internet courses. Academic assessment becomes automated and controls for numerical inflation. We believe there simply is no incentive left to encourage anything other than honest evaluation of student achievement. These advantages should, taken collectively, help restore faith and trust in the academic transcript. Students deserve a fair and impartial appraisal of their efforts from the faculty who teach them.
We are very interested in your opinion.