Our suburban snowflakes aren’t any smarter, they just have higher GPAs

Let’s add this to the mountain of evidence that suggests our nation’s suburban high schools are rewarding mediocrity.

A new study by two researchers and reported here by USA Today indicates that teachers are increasingly handing out easy As to high school students who don’t deserve those high grades — and are learning less than they were two decades ago.

The researchers found;

“Recent findings show that the proportion of high school seniors graduating with an A average — that includes an A-minus or A-plus — has grown sharply over the past generation, even as average SAT scores have fallen.

In 1998, it was 38.9%. By last year, it had grown to 47%.

That’s right: Nearly half of America’s Class of 2016 are A students. Meanwhile, their average SAT score fell from 1,026 to 1,002 on a 1,600-point scale — suggesting that those A’s on report cards might be fool’s gold.”

So we’ve got more students graduating high school with high GPAs, and heading off to college ill-prepared to handle the academic rigors of college-level math, writing and reading. This not only explains the high remedial rates in our nation’s colleges, but also why only about a half of college students complete a bachelor’s degree within six years.

Here’s what else doesn’t surprise me–where the most egregious grade inflation is taking root:

“The upward creep is most pronounced in schools with large numbers of white, wealthy students. And its especially noticeable in private schools, where the rate of inflation was about three times higher than in public schools.

(The researcher) said an A is now “the modal high school grade,” a solid sign of grade inflation.”

This research turns on its head this notion that urban schools are the ones rewarding students mostly for showing up and behaving. Nope, this is a phenomena of privilege, a gift given to a generation of snowflakes accustomed to recognition and rewards, by teachers who cave to the influence of demanding parents and entitled, college-anxious students.

If we suburban parents want our high schools to get stronger, we need to accept our own role in mining that fool’s gold.

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Tracy Dell'Angela

Tracy Dell'Angela

Tracy loves to ask questions and write stories. She roots for the underdog, wants our nation to reimagine schools and the teaching profession, and seethes about how much school inequity she sees. She spent most of her career as a journalist covering schools and crime. She and her husband raised two daughters in a diverse suburb of Chicago. She currently runs an education foundation in her community and formerly served as managing editor of Education Post. After leaving journalism she explored her wonkier side communicating school research at the University of Chicago and the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education. She is Californian by birth and a Chicagoan in spirit. She loves the outdoors and all animals, especially her spoiled "dingo" dog.

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