6 Comments

I can tell you that in Indiana, thanks to our state legislators, grade inflation is a requirement for staying employed. Not explicitly of course, but here's how it works: if a teacher has more than 20% of students failing in a semester, he or she is considered ineffective. After two years, this is grounds for dismissal, even for tenured teachers. Students quickly figure out that they will pass regardless of effort. And eventually grades become inflated by necessity even for the higher achieving students.

I'm sure that this does not explain grade inflation in all cases--although I remember being in school in the 1970's and being told even then that our grades were inflated, so this is not a new problem--but I suspect that this kind of legislative coercion is a lot more common than most of the public is aware.

Expand full comment

I agree. Explicit instruction, especially in areas like reading, writing and math is necessary for student learning.

Expand full comment

I appreciate your post and your level of honesty and integrity. Inflating grades at the school level does not solve the problem. Teaching with a different mindset seems to be our best hope.

During COVID, thousands of children and parents struggled with education at home. Many teachers taught virtually. Despite the good efforts of teachers and parents, in many cases, children academically lost at least a year, if not more.

Please consider third grade for consideration of our situation. When children entered third grade, many were academically still in second grade. Instead of telling the dark and painful truth, most schools presented third-grade kids with the third-grade curriculum. (I confess that my thoughts are invalid since I am retired.) However, if my fears are close to correct, we need to teach children at the level of their skills and understanding. If basics have been missed, the foundation will remain weak until the needs of children are met.

Above all, the expectation that teachers and children can succeed when the curriculum does not match the need levels of most children defeats parents, teachers, and children. This same principle remains true for children who come to school lacking the experience and vocabulary needed for success. Until schools refocus on children and what children need rather than curriculum, all will suffer.

Expand full comment

Thanks - I shared this with my TA's. I like the combination of student-centered discovery guided and reinforced by explicit instruction. It's hard to know what's significant without your own or another's experience and education to strengthen it.

Glad to see the issue of grade inflation recognized, because some people with big voices on pedagogy Twitter don't want to recognize it at all.

Expand full comment
Feb 21·edited Feb 21

The New Patent Pending Neuroscientific Reading Skills Training Method & System boosts reading scores as a result of this uniquely effective 3 month reading skills training. This method is a solution to the decades long literacy crisis and the inappropriately horrible low reading scores in the US; It will create LASTING reading skills proficiency per participant within 3 months. Contact JoAnne Leff at jleff41@gmail.com for further information.

Expand full comment