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Cracks in the Ivory TowerThe Moral Mess of Higher Education$
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Jason Brennan and Phillip Magness

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190846282

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190846282.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 August 2021

Grades: Communication Breakdown

Grades: Communication Breakdown

Chapter:
(p.109) 5 Grades: Communication Breakdown
Source:
Cracks in the Ivory Tower
Author(s):

Jason Brennan

Phillip Magness

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190846282.003.0005

This chapter assesses how professors grade students. It argues that the practice of grading is replete with problems. Grades are a kind of language. They are meant to be a form of communication. They are sometimes meant to communicate to students how well they’ve mastered a set of material. Most colleges calculate grade point averages (GPAs) and compare students to one another. Grades are also sometimes meant to communicate to outsiders something about how good a student is, and how he or she compares to other students from other universities. However, the grading and GPA systems are such a mess that they largely fail to accomplish these goals. In some cases, the mathematics used to calculate an average final grade in a class are incoherent. In nearly all cases, the mathematics used to calculate students’ GPAs are also incoherent.

Keywords:   university professors, grading students, college students, grade point average, GPA, higher education

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