In one fell swoop, a “B” can become a “A”.
Grades are meant to serve as benchmarks for levels of comprehension within a scholastic environment. But as the job market tightens, one graduate institution has decided that “up” is more important than any single letter — for all of its students.
The New York Times puts the spotlight on Loyola Law School Los Angeles — a university that has decided to add .333 to all of its students’ recent grades to make a more lucrative pool for employers.
Is it at all a surprise that the bell-curve grading doesn’t equal bargaining chips for young, aspiring graduates? Back in 2004, Penn State professor Michael Bérubé addressed an alternative to Loyola’s present-day decision.
Bérubé’s New York Times essay advocated for an infusion of “degree of difficulty” into the textbook grading system. Rather than giving A’s to the achievers, B’s to the baseline participants and C’s to the less-than-stellar contributors, the new figure would help students, professors, parents, employers, and anyone else decode “which courses require a forward somersault with two and a half twists from the pike position for an A, and which courses will give B’s for cannonballs.”
No matter how many zeroes are attached to the cost of a law-school education, there are no letter grades for lawyers. You’re paid a salary to do a job. But there is that degree of difficulty attached with differing levels of responsibility. And without much of a second glance, employers can usually tell who does the forward somersault, versus who’s looking for the free .333 attached next to their paycheck.