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UNC Profs Give 'F' to Grading System Change

Posted April 27, 2007

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— Professors at the University of North Carolina on Friday voted down a proposal to add an "achievement index" to the university grading system.

The Faculty Council voted 34-31 to stick with the existing grade-point average system.

The achievement index, or AI for short, is a statistical model designed to measure each undergraduate's performance relative to his or her classmates. It is designed to take into account how difficult classes are and how tough grading practices are in each class.

AI supporters said the system is needed ibecause a steady increase in the average GPA over the last decade indicates relying solely on grades is an unreliable measure of success. They wanted the index to be used in addition with GPAs.

But many professors and students said AI was a confusing way to measure performance and would have divided the campus, pitting students against each other in class.

Supporters said they might propose a different version of AI or another new grading practice as early as next year.

17 Comments

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  • mvnull Apr 28, 2007

    "It [life] ain't graded on the curve. There are winners and losers." I don't think you know what it means to be graded on the curve. In a strict curve, a certain percentage gets A, another percentage gets B, etc. If the class is full of Einsteins, some of them will get Fs; and if the class is full of Gomer Pyles, then some of THEM will get As. The AI is essentially modifying the grade to the curve.

  • Blackbeard Apr 28, 2007

    "There's a huge disparity between the workload and expectations for some classes (such as the science and math curriculum) and the liberal arts curriculum. Not to say some liberal arts classes arent hard but the workload, on average, doesnt begin to compare with science and math classes."

    That's a generalization. Unless you've studied under a curriculum, you can't judge its workload or expectations. Did you get a degree in both?

  • Tax Man Apr 28, 2007

    Grade inflation is a real problem - it should be set back the way it was intended. Very few A's should be given - only the very top of the curve - this is for those students who have mastered the materials at a level nearly as high as the professor. A B should be given for those who excel and are far above average - the middle 60 - 70 cent are average for the course and should really be getting C's - falling below the norm is a D so long as you did all the work, but were below the 60 - 70% in the middle. An F is for those who really fail the course.
    In normal grading only a very few people would have A and B averages - but we want everyone to feel good about themselves, so we give most anyone who even comes to class a B and if you try hard and participate you get an A. Not a good system. And, grades should reflect your accomplishments in comparison to your school, not the entire world. In a high end school a B would really mean something.

  • bigDAWGeats Apr 28, 2007

    Dude read the article..I agree UNC is liberal as hell but maybe you should get graded on your comprehension skills.....F

  • voicenurhead Apr 28, 2007

    Another example of the liberal commies at UNC failing to prepare their misguided students for the real world. There's never been anything wrong with the past grading system. Problem is, when students don't achieve UNC wants to pat them on the back and tell them it's not their fault. They paid their money to attend school there, so the school will make sure they come out looking good. So much for accountability. But then, it us UNC.

  • oldrebel Apr 28, 2007

    re:......."But many professors and students said AI was a confusing way to measure performance and would have divided the campus, pitting students against each other in class.".......Hey boys and girls, welcome to life. It ain't graded on the curve. There are winners and losers. Law of the jungle, only the strong survive. Life...that's just the way it is, baby.

  • lollly52 Apr 28, 2007

    The achievement index is already in place. Job Interviewer - hmmm 2.9 from a top university in a tough major, I am impressed.
    hmmm 4.4 from an unknown college with a major in comic book appreciation, I am NOT impressed.

  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness Apr 28, 2007

    In regards to grading essays, there is a difference between subjective and arbitrary. A well-written essay, with a demonstratively sound thesis, can be graded. The difference between a B- essay and a C+ essay may be subjective in that the professor believes Student A spent more time in research than Student B. To say that a liberal arts professor grabs a red pen and starts assigning grades to essays without reading them -- that would be arbitrary.

    And as for the "real world," my company's review is based on an expected level of performance. I either meet it or I don't. It isn't based on what my co-workers do. So in a sense, my performance review is more like a GPA. And the bulk of the company employees should score between 2.25 and 3.0.

  • teach Apr 28, 2007

    It's a shame that education keeps getting compared to business. Let's sell the product with sexy ads about co-eds and alcohol and hot fashion statements and flashy buildings and publicity stunts so we can attract as many consumers as possible. Oh! I'm sorry. That IS what we do through the sports programs. Never mind.

  • teach Apr 28, 2007

    Who would have determined how hard a class is? The students? Liberal arts grades are so arbitrary anyway. How do you quantify an essay? How do you quantify a review of research of other people's essays? How do you quanitify performance arts? And for those who think liberal arts is easier and less work, take a serious class in Shakespeare. Try philosophy. Try writing a half-page instead of ten pages on Aquinas. Try writing ten pages on Aquinas! Or reading at least one book a week, per class, where each book is a totally different interpretation of life. Try figuring out what science and math mean in human terms. Try discussing the meanings of life with people who don't know how to discuss without lecturing. GPA means nothing to a liberal arts major, not to those who go to school for an education instead of for a job. Those are the rare few who take the difficult classes TO DIG DEEPER rather than go looking for easy A's.

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