Education schools have long been criticized for accepting
students of middling caliber. This new study by University of Missouri
professor Cory Koedel demonstrates that low standards do not rise once these
students are enrolled. He finds that getting a high GPA as an education major is
easier to accomplish than receiving similar marks from any other department on
campus. In fact, at Koedel’s own university, students in the education
department boast an average 3.7 GPA.
On average, education-department GPAs are 0.5 to 0.8 grade points higher than
in the other departments. These higher grades cannot be explained by higher-quality
students or the smaller class sizes of ed schools. (In general, ed-school
students posted lower college-entrance exams than others in their university
cohorts, and the analysis adjusted for class-size effects.) From this research,
Koedel draws two conclusions: We are training teachers who know less (because
they are forced to work less hard for the “easy A”), and education departments
are contributing to a culture of low standards for educators. (To this point,
Koedel connects lax grading rigor in ed departments to the norm of
overwhelmingly positive teacher evaluations in public schools.) Ed schools
often complain about getting no respect; making it harder to get an A is one
simple thing they could do to help correct that.
|Click to listen to commentary on Cory Koedel's paper from the Education Gadfly Show podcast.
Cory Koedel, “Grade
Inflation for Education Majors and Low Standards for Teachers: When Everyone
Makes the Grade,” (Washington D.C.: American Enterprise Institute for
Public Policy Research, August 2011).