Gimme an A (I Insist) by Abigail Sullivan Moore

Grade Inflation Several surveys conducted recently to study the steep rise in the number receiving A grade shows, according to Sullivan Moore, something is wrong with the grading system somewhere. He says grade inflation at nation’s schools is alarming. A few are of the view that it is a positive development. But the majority feels that this is a symptom of degeneration in teaching and learning. The enthusiastic parents seem to be on an unhealthy competition. This brief paper is an attempt to examine Abigail Sullivan Moore’s “Gimme an A (I Insist).
The summary of the article in a nut shell is that there is grade inflation now. In order to study the extent of it a survey was conducted in about 400 colleges and universities, interviewing the students and the outcome is the feeling that Something is amiss”. It was seen that those who received A were about fifty percent, about 18% high since 1968. It is the outcome of heavy pressures put on the teachers by pupils and parents. They have only one desire, and that is to get admission in the reputed colleges. This is an alarming situation, because no one is aware what is at stake. They seem to be ignorant of the future challenges.
Apart from the pressures, being put by the students and parents, on the teachers for getting higher grade, the students also resort to other ways of presenting themselves as good. Cheating has become common. The availability of information and knowledge through internet has been tempting students to download them easily and submit them to the teachers as their own work. Then the habit of outsourcing the assignments are on the rise. It has been noticed, says Sullivan, that while the senior’s grade climbed the SAT score remains unchanged. This trend, he found, started increasing since the 199s. The reasons for this could be the rise in the people from middle income group becoming aware of the “hard-to-get” colleges. They try to send their wards to such reputed places. Also, their “discretionary income” enables them to pay more. He quotes the board’s vice president, Wayne J. Camara, who said that ‘‘Everyone cant get As”.
The author believes that the days of grading system is over. Learning is going to be high and constant. Grades or no grades, the students constantly make advancement in their knowledge. He feels “In 21st Century Schools, students will begin each days learning exactly where s/he left off the day before and move forward at a pace that ensures mastery of each lesson, being neither rushed nor held back by other students progress” (Moore). In stead of grading the students, he suggests, they will be benchmarked. Each student will receive a mark in each subject, which can tell him where he stands in relation to the benchmark. Hereafter the learning will remain constant, but the time will vary, argues Sullivan by quoting Pat Graham, former Harvard Graduate School of Education dean.
The purpose of the essay, “Gimme an A (I Insist!)”, is clear. Abigail Sullivan Moore feels that the time has come to modify the system of evaluating the students, particularly because the present system has become corrupted. The main purpose of the system seems to be defeated. Obviously, his essay is targeted to all those who are associated with the system, including the parents and the students. When everything is being influenced by globalization today, education also will have to seek a universal system. And with the technology growing faster than ever, the educational standard of students cannot anymore be measured with the old and conventional yardsticks.
Reference
Moore, Abigail Sullivan. “Gimme an A (I Insist!), Education Life Supplement
Late Edition – Final, Section 4A, Page 7, Column 1, 251 words