The Lake Wobegon Affect

API

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I attended a relative’s high school graduation today. Parsing through the program there was a section acknowledging all of the students who graduated with a 4.0 gpa or higher. It took me a while to count them all but I came away with 102 students. Without prompting my wife came to the same number. This is out of a class of 254 students - an even 40% had a 4.0 or better.

The next page contained a list of students achieving “Honors” followed by a list of those achieving “High Honors” subsequently followed by a list of those with “Highest Honors”. When I finally added up all three categories it summed to 254. Everyone graduated with Honors!

This isn’t endemic to just this school. The public high school near me had 33% of their graduates last year achieve a 4.0 gpa or better. My oldest’s high school had 15% last year at 4.0 or better.

Interestingly, over the past twelve years the following article finds that the average grade inflation is 0.2 points higher with most of that increase occurring during the past four years. I think it’s even higher in certain areas of the country like CA where almost all of the major school districts have now eliminated the letter grades D and F. Juxtapose that with the fact that ACT scores over that period have declined by one point. https://leadershipblog.act.org/2022/05/grade-inflation-past-decade.html

Now many colleges across the country (including every public CA university) are going “test optional” where prospective students aren’t required to submit ACT or SAT scores with their applications - just grades….

For comparison... I graduated from a rural high school where the grade 8-12 population was ~600 students. My graduating class had 125 members. We had one valedictorian and one salutatorian. Eight students were deemed honor graduates. "Honor graduate" meant completing 4 years of science and four years of math classes with A grades. My high school diploma says honor graduate. In those old days that meant something. In these days, "honor" seems to be a euphemism for "being there". To me, that doesn't appear to be a sign of improvement.
 

tripper

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Yep, everyone gets a trophy now.
 

Aunt Betty

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I went to a fairly large colllege and The university of Illinois. 40k students.
The deans list and honor role were short lists and it was a really big deal if your name was on them everyone looked to see.
 

cootmeurer

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It does get worse. Many schools have adopted a no zeroes policy
Do nothing - still get 50% credit
 

Aunt Betty

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It does get worse. Many schools have adopted a no zeroes policy
Do nothing - still get 50% credit
I see a not so distant future where a boss tries firing a bad employee but is met with " I got straight A's...".
He will be forced to say it.
"You've cross-threaded every nut you put on for a week, you're untrainable, and I can't pay you. Go home".
 

rhpierce

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560 in my high school graduating class. I was 14th with a 3.903 (they literally had to go three decimal places) and was not an honor grad. Top 2% only.

When everybody is special, no one is. Look at college graduations these days; almost everyone has some "special" cords, medallion, tassel, or extra cloth/sash/whatever. And BIPoC are allowed to have their own graduation ceremonies at many campuses apart from white people.
 

API

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When my daughter graduated from Cal State University she was recognized as Summa Cum Laude. 20 years later my granddaughter graduated from the same University as Summa Cum Laude. At the particular college of the university, this was a first time second generation recognition of such. It was something for me to feel good about.
 

letmwurk

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I went to a fairly large colllege and The university of Illinois. 40k students.
The deans list and honor role were short lists and it was a really big deal if your name was on them everyone looked to see.
My dad was on the deans list at that school all four years he was there back in the late 50’s. He sat next to me at this graduation yesterday and we just laughed and shook our heads when we counted up all of the kids with 4.0 or better.
 

Aunt Betty

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My dad was on the deans list at that school all four years he was there back in the late 50’s. He sat next to me at this graduation yesterday and we just laughed and shook our heads when we counted up all of the kids with 4.0 or better.
What? UIUC was on a 4 point scale when I was there. They changed?
If your dad took engineering back then he's one smart egg they did everything in their heads using arithmetic tricks. Pick your dad's brain every chance you get.
 

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