Feeling deflated about grade inflation?

I tell my students almost every semester that I can’t give them all high grades because the university demands its pound of flesh. Well, now I find out that this semester starts with a local exposé on grade inflation at UW:

If grades are any indication of on-the-job proficiency, the students graduating from UW-Madisons department of curriculum and instruction should be very, very good teachers. According to a Capital Times analysis of publicly available grade information at UW-Madison, the average grade awarded to undergraduates in this department which develops the teachers of tomorrow is higher than a 3.9 on a 4.0 scale.

There’s nothing surprising about grade inflation. Universities treat students as customers, and like any service industry the universities profit by meeting expectations. Expectations have changed.

I wonder how long someone will try to justify grade inflation here by the Flynn effect? Ooops:

In fact, some point out the average ACT score of incoming freshmen went from 24.0 in 1988 to 26.8 in 1998 to 28.1 in 2008.

There it is!

There is an hidden disadvantage for students here. A-B-C-D-F grades have become nearly useless as entry gauges for many professions (the article emphasizes nursing and education). That means that employers have to lean more and more on other indicators. Letters of recommendation are more inflated than grades, so they don’t help. That brings us to tangible things like internships, standardized test scores, and interviews.

Oh and intangibles. Like nepotism.