Grade Inflation for Education Majors and Low Standards for Teachers: When Everyone Makes the Grade
Education schools have long been criticized for accepting students of middling caliber. This new study by University of Missouri professor Cory Koedel demonstrates that low standards do not rise once these students are enrolled. He finds that getting a high GPA as an education major is easier to accomplish than receiving similar marks from any other department on campus. In fact, at Koedel’s own university, students in the education department boast an average 3.7 GPA. On average, education-department GPAs are 0.5 to 0.8 grade points higher than in the other departments. These higher grades cannot be explained by higher-quality students or the smaller class sizes of ed schools. (In general, ed-school students posted lower college-entrance exams than others in their university cohorts, and the analysis adjusted for class-size effects.) From this research, Koedel draws two conclusions: We are training teachers who know less (because they are forced to work less hard for the “easy A”), and education departments are contributing to a culture of low standards for educators. (To this point, Koedel connects lax grading rigor in ed departments to the norm of overwhelmingly positive teacher evaluations in public schools.) Ed schools often complain about getting no respect; making it harder to get an A is one simple thing they could do to help correct that.
|Click to listen to commentary on Cory Koedel's paper from the Education Gadfly Show podcast.
Cory Koedel, “Grade Inflation for Education Majors and Low Standards for Teachers: When Everyone Makes the Grade,” (Washington D.C.: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, August 2011).
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