Editorial: Cutting A’s causing a craze

By Editorial Board
October 21, 2005

Princeton University has stirred much controversy cutting down the number of A’s given to its student body. The “A-slashing” is part of Princeton’s new grading initiative started in Apr. of 2004. The policy had an original goal of reducing the percentage of students receiving A’s from 55 percent to 35 percent.

So far, the percentages of A’s have been cut-down substantially. In some majors, the A’s given to students have fallen as much as 10 percent. Princeton administrators expect to meet the mark of 35 percent by the end this school year.

Whether or not other schools will follow this policy is debatable. A few Ivy League schools have “showed interest” in the Princeton policy and plan to adopt similar programs, Karen W. Arenson of the New York Times reported.

One can only imagine what tougher grading would do at a school like Cabrini. It also would be interesting to see the percentage of A’s deliberated to students at the school. For the most part, Cabrini students have expressed an opinion completely against a change like the one issued at Princeton. The students at Princeton, however, have not been too upset with the new effort to trim the amount of A’s given.

There are many different arguments criticizing the policy. A sample disagreement voiced by students would be that the reduction of A’s would hurt them in the future when trying to apply for additional schooling or an occupation.

Also, there is a fear among teachers that their student approval may suffer if they are forced to reduce the number of A’s, a statement provided by Karen W. Arenson of the New York Times. Another argument is that instructors should not solely focus on a letter grade. Many believe that the actual letter grade is not most important. The learning and development of the student is what is paramount.

The negativity received by this policy, however, does not outweigh the positive results cutting A’s have gotten. Under the policy, students are simply pushed to work harder. Many administrators at Princeton have stated that it is, “important to separate a student’s good work from their very best,” Arenson of the New York Times also reported. Many believe the thought of students truly applying themselves is an aspect of education that has been lost over the years.

At Cabrini, it is certain that a stricter grading policy would motivate and challenge students to reach a higher level of academic achievement.

No matter how much some students may hate to admit it, there is no better feeling than receiving an “A” in a class with a cumbersome workload. That feeling of accomplishment, independence and power cannot be rivaled.

Many times, however, we come across classes where there is a substantial amount of work to be done, and you complete it all, only to find out that someone who did half the work you did received an “A” as well. For this reason, maybe it is necessary for America to increase the difficulty of getting higher grades.

Many times in recent history our educational system has been subjected to scrutiny from foreign countries. A little push to the children of America to work harder cannot hurt us, it will just help us to compete against other countries and ourselves.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Editorial Board

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