Undermining academic integrity in one easy step

Sorry for being such a bad blogger lately.  Let’s just blame it on the after-effects of Hurricane Irene.  So, today’s quick hit, NCSU’s new GPA calculation policy.  From the memo:

The main changes are:

1.) Undergraduate Grade Exclusion

Undergraduates can select up to two NC State courses with posted letter grades of C- or below to exclude from their GPA. Students no longer have to repeat a course to take advantage of grade exclusion and are no longer limited to 100 or 200 level courses taken in their first year of enrollment.

Got that?  NC State students can now drop any 2 course from their GPA calculation for any reason.  Freshmen forgiveness is one thing, but this strikes me as absurd (as it does to most colleagues I’ve discussed it with).  The rationale is not totally crazy:

The intention of this change is to provide greater flexibility for all undergraduates, especially new transfer students and new freshmen entering with lots of AP credit who were limited by the criteria of the First Year Course Repeat regulation.

Yet, if that’s the intention, there are much narrower fixes, e.g,. allow replacement for one lower-level course taken in your first semester actually at NCSU.  I seem to recall when this idea was first promulgated that it was mentioned that many other universities now have a similar policy.  To which I say, “and if all those other universities decided to jump off a bridge?”

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

7 Responses to Undermining academic integrity in one easy step

  1. itchy says:

    So I was trying to figure out what the purpose of this is — what is the benefit for NCSU? Can it be that students who get a poor grade in a class are likely to repeat it, thereby taking a slot that would have been given to a non-repeat student? Add this up, and NCSU ends up having to offer more sections, costing more money?

    Then again, even repeat students are paying students … and if you’re capping enrollment, then you don’t have an unlimited demand … so does that matter?

    I’m still not exactly sure what the reasoning is. I do dislike seeing GPAs get watered down in yet another way.

  2. itchy says:

    I guess for lower-level courses, repeat students could create a bottleneck, since many first-time students are required to take them, often as prerequisites.

    But, yes, it seems like there are better solutions.

  3. Steve Greene says:

    One former student I talked to– who would’ve literally graduated at least a semester sooner if this rule had been in place– suggested that perhaps the primary goal is simply to move students through faster. A surprising number of students need to stay longer for failure to achieve the minimum 2.0 GPA. Drop a couple of F’s, and the GPA shoots up really fast.

  4. I’m buttmad that I never got to take advantage of this, but my grades were never that bad either. If I had this I probably would have abandoned work on one class after it was too late to drop or change to pass/fail during a 19 hour semester and come off without lasting repercussions.

    I think what really undermines academic integrity are the grades kids get in the first place. People will comb through classes to find the “easy” sections and professors, solicit and share graded material for “studying”, and bully professors [without tenure] with the threat of negative evaluations. The fact that students have this attitude in the first place! This entitlement! Don’t forget they’re paying your salary and you owe them an A. :p And the system in place now rewards them for and reinforces the fact that cheating will get them ahead. Add this to the stack of things wrong with grades and maintaining academic integrity.

  5. Pingback: other topics

  6. Pingback: high class asian dubai escort ladies

  7. Excellent post. I will be dealing with some of these issues as well..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: