Vermonters for Better Education
Return to Index | Vermonters for Better Education Homepage
Is Your Child a Victim of Grade
(An interview with Bernier Mayo, headmaster of St. Johnsbury Academy and VBE board member)
Q. What does the term "grade inflation" mean?
A. Grade inflation is the widespread practice of narrowing the range of acceptable grades from A through F to something on the order of A through B. Grade inflation is the end product of the "self esteem" movement, a dominant philosophy in education today that values effort over achievement, that eschews competition as abhorrent in the development of the "whole" child, and that banishes failure from the range of student possibilities.
Q. How can parents know if their children are really earning "A's"?
A. Parents have to consult what they know of their children's possibilities and compare their knowledge with the expected grade for such possibilities. A student who is a poor reader or writer who gets an A or a B is receiving a reward for effort, not achievement.
Q. Is grade inflation a big problem?
A. Grade inflation is so bad a problem that grades mean very little on a transcript. A number of years ago, UVM's business college abolished their Dean's List because virtually everybody was on it. I have to look for other indicators of achievement.
Q. What are the risks?
A. We are teaching kids that there is no such thing as failure, that being a nice kid and a hard worker is all that is necessary. Life, unfortunately, isn't like that.