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Dear Dr.

Monroe-Blum,

In recent years, grade inflation has become a major issue for many learning
institutions throughout North America. McGill University has always been
recognized as one of the top schools in Canada and is recognized around the globe.
However, this author believes that it will be difficult for the university to maintain its
status if it continues to use its current grading scheme.

Learning institutions have always had difficulties with student retention, failure and
attrition. I believe these are the main reasons for grade inflation. The
aforementioned catalysts may have caused universities as well as school boards to
re-evaluate their grading mechanisms. “Cognizant of the secondary and affective
aspects of assigned grades on student confidence, self-efficacy, and motivation,
increasing numbers of schools have been experimenting with modified grading
practices” (Carifio, 2010). These practices not only falsely reward students from a
young age; they create a sense of entitlement that will follow them throughout the
duration of their studies.

Today, many students believe that education is a service that is bought and not
earned/learned. They are recognizant of the fact that they have paid for this
“service” and because of this believe they are entitled to their diploma no matter
how much effort they put into it. This creates a problem for those underperforming
but also for students who overachieve. This creates the illusion that the majority of
students are performing at an above average level, whereas in reality, there are
outliers on the high and low ends that affect the overall grades. I believe professors
have adopted this method for a number of reasons.

There are a lot of hidden pressures on both faculty and students at the university
level. This may cause students to “grade grub” and professors to grade
compassionately. The above is the derivative of a society that rewards those who
possess an above average GPA or have graduated with honors. There has been so
much emphasis put on grades that students only learn the theoretical aspects in
their respective fields but ignore the real life applications attached to them because
there are no grades attributed to those aspects.

Moreover, Quebec has the highest dropout rate in all of Canada. Because of this,
the education board may have re-evaluated their grading practices in order to
improve attendance rates. However this author believes that although the rates
may improve, the overall quality of education will be affected by this. By allowing
non-deserving students to advance through high school and onto collegial studies to
eventually enroll in universities without the proper understanding of fundamental
topics such as mathematics and languages, will create sub-par graduates.

Though I am appreciative of the efforts the university makes in order to ensure an


above average learning experience, I feel as though the grades should not be
subject to manipulation (increase/decrease) and students should be able to gauge
their performance and make the necessary adjustments in order to truly benefit
from their years at McGill. Also, by implementing this strategy, I believe our
graduates will enter the workforce with the skills required to pursue their careers
and demonstrate what the university is truly capable of.
Yours truly,

Ben Harati

References

Are we setting up students to fail? | Macleans.ca - Canada - Features. (n.d.).

Macleans.ca - Canada News, World News, Politics, Business, Culture, Health,

Environment, Education . Retrieved March 21, 2011, from

http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=20070605_153207_13228

Carifio, J., & Carey, T. (2010). Do Minimum Grading Practices Lower Academic. Educ

Horiz 88 no4 Summ 2010, 88, 219-230. Retrieved March 21, 2011, from the

Wilson Web database.

Franz, W. I. (2010). Grade inflation under the threat of students’ nuisance:.

Economics of Education Review, 29, 411-422. Retrieved March 21, 2011,

from the MetaLib database.

Phum (2009, May 29). A for effort (Grade inflation and jazz critics). Ottawa Citizen.

Retrieved March 21, 2011, from http://www.ottawacitizen.com/

Troy, G. (2002, June 15). Dishonouring the graduates: Harvard's solution to the

problem of grade inflation might simply make matters worse. The Montreal

Gazette, p. B3.