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Two Women Talking

A+ Teachers Or Grade Inflation?

by Tim Prudente

The Baltimore Sun

Article excerpt

Former education secretary says grade inflation for aspiring teachers puts future students ‘at risk’

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says extreme grade inflation at colleges and universities is leaving education majors unqualified to teach — and placing their students “at risk.” In an open letter released Tuesday, criticized teacher preparedness, saying: “The system we have for training teachers lacks rigor, is out of step with the times, and is given to extreme grade inflation that leaves teachers unprepared and their future students at risk.”

Our take

More Rigor for Education Majors?

Grade inflation doesn’t just affect students–it can affect (future) teachers as well according to former education secretary Arne Duncan. While Duncan’s comments have been controversial, he points to some data to support his claim—a 2014 National Council on Teacher Quality report indicating that education majors graduate with honors at a much higher rate than students with other majors. Is that difference attributable to lower standards, as Duncan suggests, or are there other impacts at work?

Grade inflation is a common concern across many programs, of course, and a cause of concern on many college campuses. You may have already done a similar analysis of grades/honors in each of your program areas. If not, it may be something to consider. Of course, education, like many professions, requires ongoing professional development, recognizing that many core competencies for educators will be learned and reinforced over time.