Our View: Analysis of grade data brings new questions

DKS Editors

The analysis of grade data from Spring 2008 to Spring 2013 paints an inflated picture. More than seven in 10 grades given by professors at Kent State were an A or B. As more and more students receive A’s or B’s from professors, we feel this inflation only hurts the students who face the looming GPA requirements of various graduate programs and schools. A’s and B’s mean much less when the majority of your fellow students receive these grades. This grade inflation might hurt Kent State’s reputation when compared with other institutions of higher education as a 4.0 GPA at Kent State might pale in comparison to a 4.0 GPA from another public university.

The exception to this grade inflation comes with the programs with higher GPA requirements. Here, we feel it is reasonable to expect the grade distribution to skew toward A’s and B’s. These students have already overcome GPA barriers to gain entry into their program and often must maintain these high GPAs in hopes of gaining entry to a post-graduate program or securing employment. Other programs at Kent State place less emphasis on GPA with lower entrance requirements. These programs often have students who worry less about their GPAs and more about the out-of-classroom experience.

As Kent State administrators begin to examine the courses that have high withdrawal rates and D’s and F’s, we feel it is necessary to spend time and resources on investigating the courses and professors that award more A’s and B’s than others. Yes, Kent State did admit a freshman class this fall with the highest average GPA ever. As Kent State freshman classes continue to outperform their predecessors, we want the classes to continue to challenge these bright individuals. We do not want Kent State classes to become so easy that our hard work means less and less. An examination of the courses and professors associated with more A’s and B’s will help protect the academic integrity and importance of receiving an A or B at Kent State.