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Campus Overload
Posted at 11:50 AM ET, 04/20/2011

UNC adds context to GPAs to combat grade inflation


A 3.1 in one college course is not the same as a 3.1 in another. Subject matters range in difficulty, as do the grading styles of professors. But how does an employer know the difference?

Starting next year, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill plans to add context to its transcripts. In addition to a list of grades, the university will also provide the median class grades for each course, class rankings by percentile and the average overall GPA of students taking a similar mix of classes, according to the Daily Tar Heel. (The Chronicle of Higher Education has an example transcript.)

Faculty members will receive grade reports so they can see how their grading styles compare. The university plans to create a public, online database of grade distributions.

The policy has been in the works for a year, and on Friday the university’s Faculty Council approved what data will appear on transcripts to give proper context.

“If a student has an A, an employer doesn’t know if everyone else had that grade in the class,” McKay Coble, chairwoman of the faculty council, told the Daily Tar Heel. “It’s great for employers to be able to look at transcripts and know what that grade really means.”

Andrew Perrin, associate chairman of the sociology department, told the Tar Heel that he hopes the policy will spark frank discussions about grade inflation. A few other universities are thinking about implementing similar policies, he said, including the University of Miami and the University of California, San Diego.

Perrin told the Tar Heel that his hope is “that administrators will sit down with faculty and say, ‘When you gave 83 percent A’s in the class, did you really mean it?’”

You can read the full Tar Heel article here. The Chronicle of Higher Education also covered this topic, here.

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By  |  11:50 AM ET, 04/20/2011

 
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