Grade inflation

Grade inflation has been well-documented, but I really liked this piece of research that puts it in a broader context and finds some interesting correlates:

Findings/Results: Contemporary data indicate that, on average across a wide range of schools, A’s represent 43% of all letter grades, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960 and 12 percentage points since 1988. D’s and F’s total typically less than 10% of all letter grades. Private colleges and universities give, on average, significantly more A’s and B’s combined than public institutions with equal student selectivity. Southern schools grade more harshly than those in other regions, and science and engineering-focused schools grade more stringently than those emphasizing the liberal arts. At schools with modest selectivity, grading is as generous as it was in the mid-1980s at highly selective schools. These prestigious schools have, in turn, continued to ramp up their grades. It is likely that at many selective and highly selective schools, undergraduate GPAs are now so saturated at the high end that they have little use as a motivator of students and as an evaluation tool for graduate and professional schools and employers.

Man, I know it’s gotten bad, but A is the most common grade?!  I’m definitely not guilty of that (then again, I am at a Southern, public, university).

As for me, I’m probably too easy to get a B from, but I definitely do not give away A’s very easy.

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Photo of the day

From the Telegraph’s Animal Photos of the week:

Keen nature photographer Geir Jartveit took this photo of a heron catching a frog in Alesund, Norway. Refusing to be gobbled up the frog kept jumping and wriggling free from the grasp of the heron's beak for over 30 minutes until it ran out of steam and couldnt fight any longer.
Keen nature photographer Geir Jartveit took this photo of a heron catching a frog in Alesund, Norway. Refusing to be gobbled up the frog kept jumping and wriggling free from the grasp of the heron’s beak for over 30 minutes until it ran out of steam and couldnt fight any longer.Picture: GEIR JARTVEIT / CATERS NEWS

Interstates for the middle class; but no health care for the working poor

Really like the NC PolicyWatch post that exposes the rank hypocrisy and dissembling of the NC Republican party on the issue of Medicaid expansion:

It’s a popular argument against NC taking federal money to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and it goes like this:  ”Well, it’s a good thing to expand Medicaid to 500,000 working, low-income NC citizens, but we just can’t be sure that the federal government will always provide most of the money for the expansion so we had better not help our fellow citizens.”

Poking holes in this argument isn’t hard…

[plenty of good ones at the link, but I like the interstate highway example below]

To these good reasons for expansion let me add one more:  For NC legislators to take the stance that we shouldn’t take federal money for major state-federal projects in NC because “it might run out” is highly hypocritical. Why? On the same day – in fact in the same hour – as NC House members passed the bill rejecting the Medicaid expansion in North Carolina citing as one of the major reasons that the federal money might “not always be there,” they passed another bill.  This second bill – taken upimmediately after the vote blocking federal Medicaid money in NC, was on a bill paving the way for NC to obtain major federal government funding for the Interstate 540 loop south of Raleigh. [See the “Block Medicaid Expansion” bill here. See the I-540 bill here. See news coverage of the federal money and the I-540 bill here. See the NC House Calendar for the day in question here.]

The I-540 bill – of course – sailed through the NC House with no one questioning that the millions of dollars of matching federal investment for Raleigh’s latest loop freeway might not come through. Indeed, some House members stood up to talk about the importance of getting matching federal money for this southern loop when, just a few minutes before, they had been questioning whether matching federal money for health care would be available. How do I know this?  I was sitting in the NC House chamber and heard them speak.

This is easily the most common reason I’ve heard for rejecting the Medicaid expansion.  But not a soul for rejecting federal highway money.  Hmmmm.  Could it possibly be that rejecting the expansion isn’t actually about the fact that someday in the future the money won’t be there?  Could it be that Republicans hate Obama so much and the idea of universal health care so much that they are willing to screw over the working poor in their states in a fit of political pique?  Sadly, you can guess my answer.

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