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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

(p.109) 5 Grades: Communication Breakdown
Cracks in the Ivory Tower

Jason Brennan

Phillip Magness

Oxford University Press

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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