Grade Inflation Under Scrutiny in Indiana

Several economics professors at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., have stirred up a controversy with a study revealing serious grade-inflation problems at the school. It has led to a bill in the state senate to study the phenomenon, the subject of this newspaper story.

Naturally, the Ball State administration is pooh-poohing the matter. The provost says that the school has already created a task force to look into “academic rigor.” But people shouldn’t worry because “At Ball State, we’re committed to providing a high quality and rigorous education.” The last thing you’d expect from this task force is an admission that many courses and feeble and students can pass with very little effort.

Craig Ladwig of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation isn’t buying the smiley-face talk: “When you are an institution dealing with a state revenue stream, the incentives might be to let grade inflation go up. Everybody is happier. Everything looks better.”

Exactly. This is what Murray Sperber calls “the faculty/student non-aggression pact.” Easy grading of courses that don’t require much appeals to everyone except those few students who really wanted an intellectual challenge. But there are few of them and instead of complaining, they’ll just learn on their own or seek out one of the remaining professors who really challenges students.

Hat tip: Norman Van Cott

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More