How Better Grades May Mean Our Kids are Less Prepared for College…

We’ve talked about how the now-common retake policy for middle and high school test-takers inflates grades and could impair how well they think they know the material.

Well, it turns out the effects of this grade inflation trend in high schools extend to College Freshman as well.

A September 2018 study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute study finds that not only does grade inflation continue to be prevalent (especially among the most affluent schools), but that only a minority of those students who do go on to college are actually prepared.

As the study notes:

“…a 2018 survey published by Learning Heroes, a parent information group, found that 90 percent of parents believe their child is performing at or above grade level… That’s a lot of misinformed parents, given that one-third of U.S. teenagers, at most, leave high school ready for credit-bearing courses.”

And as one of the authors Michael J. Petrilli puts it, this disconnect could be coming from the inflated grades they’re receiving in high school:

“Conscientious parents are constantly getting feedback about the academic performance of their children, almost all of it from teachers. We see worksheets and papers marked up on a daily or weekly basis; we receive report cards every quarter; and of course there’s the annual (or, if we’re lucky, semiannual) parent-teacher conference. If the message from most of these data points is “your kid is doing fine!” then it’s going to be tough for a single “score report” from a distant state test administered months earlier to convince us otherwise.”

All of this is to say, as grade inflation continues, and we put less and less emphasis on standardized testing, the chances that our children enter college fully prepared decreases…
Unless we monitor and make sure they’re truly learning the material, rather than just “getting by” – which is easier said than done.

What do you think?

Have you had the experience of an exceptional GPA followed by a less-than-stellar SAT or ACT score?
Comment below, I’d love to hear your opinion.