Grading is an oft-debated, rarely changed, and extremely important part of our education system. Inconsistencies across subjects and professors makes it an ineffective form of evaluating students’ knowledge.
Some professors are harder than others. Maybe those students’ grades should be raised. However, there should be a point where we care more about whether or not these students will be successful rather than how high their GPA is. Current grading practices fail to promote learning, causing stress and over-fixation on memorizing how to cater to a particular professor as opposed to understanding the material.
Should a prestigious business school really have a significant number of students with poorer grades? If admissions is doing its job, most CSOM students should be receiving high grades. The reduction of a raw grade sets students up for self-doubt and reduces their ability to get an internship or job and, ultimately, will reduce the esteem of alumni and (the thing BC cares about) their ability to donate back to the school.
This is not to say that grades should necessarily be inflated. However, reducing them only sets up failure for both students and the University.
Statistically, some classes will and should be smarter than others. Professor LaCombe brought up the point that a true analysis of grades would factor in students’ backgrounds. This report does not consider the idea that today’s BC student may actually be smarter than one 15 years ago, also coming in with the experience and knowledge allowed for in the modern world.
Personally, I have been investing since middle school as markets and financial data are easily accessible on the internet. AP classes taught me macro- and microeconomics. Curving of any kind only exacerbates initial knowledge gaps among students. Students should get the grade they earn, independent of the experiences and knowledge of anyone else in their class.
No grading system will be perfect, but one that intentionally reduces grades is harmful to students.
I support a relative standardization in regards to different sections of the same course, though all professors teach and grade to their own best ability. Arbitrarily reducing students’ grades is too great a cost for standardization.
Especially if it plans to implement new policy, CSOM should release its report. Failure to do so would only reinforce a general lack of transparency at BC. Hopefully, in the future, time and money will be spent on improving learning outcomes rather than on ineffective evaluations of students’ intelligence.
Kyle Rosenthal, CSOM ’21
Featured Graphic by Nicole Chan / Graphics Editor