Monday, August 18, 2008

Grade Inflation, Students and Bureaucrats

Harry at Crooked Timber has an interesting discussion of "grade inflation", which supposedly occurs at institutions of higher education. He argues that grade inflation may not be occurring, students may just be better these days. (There's some proof, and even a name for the effect, which I have now forgotten--senior moment--that IQ's are rising each generation, although he doesn't mention this. He does observe that legacy students like George W wouldn't have gotten into Yale today.)

It's interesting to me because the people who believe in grade inflation ascribe it to the same factors which I saw in government work when it came time for me to evaluate employees, or others to evaluate me. Namely, fuzzy standards, the desire to avoid conflict, fear of honest discussions, desire to keep everyone happy. "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

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