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August 24, 2011

Grade Inflation for Education Majors and Low Standards for Teachers When Everyone Makes the Grade

Cory Koedel

Students who take education classes at universities receive significantly higher grades than students who take classes in every other academic discipline. The higher grades cannot be explained by observable differences in student quality between education majors and other students, nor can they be explained by the fact that education classes are typically smaller than classes in other academic departments. The remaining reasonable explanation is that the higher grades in education classes are the result of low grading standards. These low grading standards likely will negatively affect the accumulation of skills for prospective teachers during university training. More generally, they contribute to a larger culture of low standards for educators.

Key points in this Outlook:

Grades awarded in university education departments are consistently higher than grades in other disciplines.

Similarly, teachers in K-12 schools receive overwhelmingly positive evaluations.

Grade inflation in education departments should be addressed through administrative directives or external accountability in K-12 schools.

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Posted by Jim Zellmer at August 24, 2011 4:34 AM
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