Above average

The letters A through F hold much power over students. They keep students up all night – and in class all day. They can cause elation and depression.

Grades. Professors assign them to show the success of students. But these letters can signify much more. They can rate professors, classes and even universities.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, grade inflation – assigning higher grades to make universities look better – is becoming more common on college campuses. But most GW students and professors interviewed for this story said they do not believe it happens here.

Senior Nayef Perry said he does not think grade inflation occurs at GW. He said his grades have always been fair and accurate.

“What you get is what you get,” Perry said.
Senior Aaron Kaswell said if students are receiving higher marks it is because they are taking classes they like.

“Some of the classes are definitely easier than I expected.” Kaswell said. “But the real reason grades are up is because we can take classes that we are interested in, because more and more classes are out there.”

But, Kaswell said, GW students know how to bargain with professors to receive higher grades.

Sophomore Lonn Selbst said he does not think grade inflation occurs at GW but said he wished it did.

“Grades here are deflated,” Selbst said.

Some students said they have heard of professors raising grades, and most said that it is not an entirely bad idea.

Sophomore Liz Kellogg said she believes professors may have boosted grades in some of her classes. Kellogg said she appreciates the extra help to strengthen her grade point average.

Sophomore Tom Jenney said he has never taken a class in which the teacher boosted grades, but he said friends at the University have.

“Sometimes it’s fair,” Jenney said. “I think some professors are just too difficult.”

Senior Ruthie Aframe said while she does not think it is widespread, grade inflation may occur in some classes.

“There are some classes where I thought I would do terrible and have done much better than I thought,” Aframe said. “Maybe the teachers gave me the benefit of the doubt, or thought I was nice.”

Psychology professor Philip Moore said he does not think grade inflation is a problem at GW. He also said he does not agree with professors who give lower grades to form a bell curve.

“I believe that every student in the class can get an A,” Moore said. “I don’t use a curve and I think a lot of teachers don’t use them anymore. It’s really unfair to say that a only a certain number of students can get a good grade in a class.”

Political Science professor Bernard Reich said he does not believe GW professors give out higher grades to make the University look better.

“Higher grades don’t necessarily mean a better class or a better school,” Reich
said.

Reich said there is no pressure from the University to increase grades.

“The University has no grading quotas and has nothing to do with how we grade,” Reich said.

Many students still see grades as a top factor in taking classes, and higher grades often mean students are more likely to take a class.

After all, students are more apt to ask `how did you do?’ before asking `what did you learn?’

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