Is College a Racket? New Study Links a Surge in Graduation With Greed and 'Grade Inflation'

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Education has absolutely changed.

One component of conversion: the value of being educated.

Not many decades past, a high school diploma was considered academic achievement enough.

College was reserved for elites and those seeking special skills.

But these days, even secretaries have Bachelor’s degrees.

From the looks of things, we’re a more educated society.

But what if somewhere along the way, school became a suitable place for slackers?

Apropos of such a scenario, a research team comprised of folks from a scholastic trio — Brigham Young University, Stanford University, and Purdue University — found that contemporary graduation rates may be bolstered by (Trigger Warning) “grade inflation.”

Prior to 1990, college graduation rates — particularly among men — were declining.

But then numbers began to climb.

Per the study published by Education Next, college attendance and completion have “changed dramatically.”

[S]tudents who were slated to graduate high school in 2004 are 3.8 percentage points more likely to graduate college than students from the class of 1992. This trend is confirmed in federal data, the Census, and registrar data from 10 public universities.

And not only are we blessed with more graduates, but they’re making better grades.

Yet, something smells of fish:

What’s driving this growth? We look at student background and academic preparation, as well as institutional practices like support-service spending, and find that none of these potential factors explain the changes. But one trend is clear across all the datasets: Compared to decades past, college students have been earning better grades in recent years, and better college grades are strongly associated with higher rates of graduation.

Other factors that could explain the increase — high school prep and labor-force college participation rates — have evolved in such a way so as to predict fewer graduations, not more.

It might just be that pupils today are getting pampered.

In analyzing grades, exam scores, and graduate rates from 2001 to 2012 at one liberal arts school, the investigative team found indications of “more lax standards in grading.”

In two required science courses that gave the same tests over time, even as students’ grades were going up, their performance on nearly identical exams stayed about the same. Meanwhile, the school’s graduation rate grew to 85.9 percent from 83.1 percent during that time, and students’ grade-point averages increased to 3.02 from 2.77.

The study notes that grade inflation “raises important questions about the meaning of some college degrees.”

They ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie — these are the days of the Gender Studies major.

And while probing the relationship between constructs and crotches is fine if it scratches your itch, the real-world application is a bit of a head-scratcher.

But maybe actual use is no longer an applicable metric. The best I can tell, the entire concept of schooling’s been upended.

As we’re relentlessly informed, things once viewed as marks of achievement are just plain ol’ white supremacy.

Public institutions, therefore, are trying to undo more than a century of sin.

Hence, like a calligraphy-adorned certificate into toilet paper, education’s been repurposed.

Cases in point:

University President Sends a Letter Announcing the School’s Top Priority: Racial Justice and Equity

California University Eyes ‘Radical’ BIPOC Honors Program Based on Equity Instead of Grades

Professor Razes the Evil of Writing Rules, Whacks White Supremacy by Gonging Grades

In Order to Attack ‘Systemic Racism,’ a School Eliminates Failure and Time Constraints

You’ll Be Graded on Wokeness: Professor Forces Students to Put Their Pronouns on Assignments

Colorado University Hosts Teacher Training to Fight the ‘White Supremacy’ of ‘Productivity’

A bit more evidence of education’s emerging ease:

[S]tarting school a year later corresponds to a statistically significant increase of 0.025 grade points, and that this difference holds steady even when we control for students’ scores on end-of-course exams, the specific courses they take, and student characteristics including SAT test scores. …

[S]tudents with the exact same score on the exact same final exam earned better grades in later years. … [O]ur finding that grades are increasing over time…suggests that it’s getting easier to earn a degree at the public liberal arts college we study.

Might money be a motivator? Say it isn’t so:

The recent policy focus on college completion rates seems a likely contributor to increases in average GPAs. As schools and departments face increased scrutiny and…increased funding incentives, they may respond by increasing graduation rates. Changing standards of degree receipt is a low-cost way to increase graduation rates. … [G]raduation rates increased sharply at public four-year schools and community colleges, which rely on tax dollars and can be affected by states’ performance-based funding rules.

Therefore:

[T]here may be deleterious effects of grade inflation if it changes what is learned in college.

So could people now be more educated and yet dumber?

It doesn’t appear particularly impossible.

And consider this doozy of a data point:

[A]t least one third of all U.S. students don’t finish (secondary school)…

Providentially, Joe Biden has a solution: the College Completion Fund, which Builds Back Better to the tune of $6.2 billion a year.

But let’s complete the above quote from EducationNext.org; as it turns out, a bunch of those collegiate class-takers are just goofing off:

[A]t least one third of all U.S. students don’t, even six years after they enroll.

Maybe hold off on the six bil.

The study sums things thusly:

[W]ith growing uncertainty about the relative return on investment in terms of both time and tuition, both students and institutions should take a hard look at the ultimate value of their efforts.

That sounds right.

Even so, if you do enroll in school, with our new priority shift, you might make just the difference the whole world needs.

But in the event that you fall short, you’ll at least have acquired information that’ll last a lifetime:

When it comes to wokeness, universities get an A+ — no inflation needed.

-ALEX

 

See more content from me:

University Performs an ‘Antiracism’ Experiment — on Four-Year-Olds

The Seven Deadly Sins Must Have an Amazing Agent: Church Hosts ‘Pride’ Drag Show

You’ll Be Graded on Wokeness: Professor Forces Students to Put Their Pronouns on Assignments

Find all my RedState work here.

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