"By not adjusting their grading policies, STEM programs ultimately hurt..the economy"

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...young adults are rational decision-makers and understand that their GPA can either be a gateway or a padlock to future employment. When students invest so much time studying for a program they eventually feel is trying to weed them out, many will transfer to an easier major solely to prop up their flagging GPA. It’s not that these students are lazy or unmotivated; they see diminished returns for increased efforts and are demoralized. By not adjusting their grading policies, STEM programs ultimately hurt themselves as well the future of the American economy. The tragedy is that thousands of otherwise-qualified and talented students will continue to bail out of these programs because the GPA remains the bottom line for many jobs after graduation. It is time for a public discussion on whether STEM programs have been too frugal in doling out good grades for Herculean workloads.

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<p>Inflate</a> grades in STEM programs | The Daily Texan</p>

<p>Baloney to adjusting the GPA to make people feel good…. Engineering and technology are about putting in effort- lots of effort! A student’s GPA often, not always, reflects the student’s effort. </p>

<p>I have tutored engineering students in the learning center and I can absolutely state that many of the students are simply lazy and want the information handed to them. Additionally, from my experience, many of the students are simply seeking to pass the test not learn the material. I try to explain to them that if they learn the material their grade will positively reflect this concept. </p>

<p>It’s ridiculous to think you can simply lower the standards to ‘make’ more engineers in the United States….</p>

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The tragedy is that thousands of otherwise-qualified and talented students will continue to bail out of these programs because the GPA remains the bottom line for many jobs after graduation.

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If their GPAs are so low that they're transferring out of engineering, how does it follow that they are otherwise-qualified? Were these students given some kind of test after the fact? What test determines someone's qualifications for doing well in engineering studies or engineering work?</p>

<p>In a lot of ways, I'm sort of a fan of pass/fail systems (not to help more students pass - make the courses tougher, if you want to - but make learning about more than getting a good number).</p>

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I have tutored engineering students in the learning center and I can absolutely state that many of the students are simply lazy and want the information handed to them. Additionally, from my experience, many of the students are simply seeking to pass the test not learn the material. I try to explain to them that if they learn the material their grade will positively reflect this concept.

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<p>Well, plenty of humanities students seem to be similarly lazy and want information handed to them, and are simply seeking to pass the test rather than to learn the material...and they're allowed to do so. Why are they treated differently from the engineers? </p>

<p>If the goal is to flunk out lazy students, then fair enough, let's flunk out all lazy students, regardless of major. Why are the engineers singled out? </p>

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If their GPAs are so low that they're transferring out of engineering, how does it follow that they are otherwise-qualified? Were these students given some kind of test after the fact? What test determines someone's qualifications for doing well in engineering studies or engineering work?

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<p>Then let me give you an example. Many students who flunk out of engineering at, say, MIT, could probably have passed if they had gone to an easier, low-tier engineering school. Hence, they are just as 'qualified' as those graduates that are produced every year by that low-tier school. Nevertheless, they don't graduate with engineering degrees.</p>

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young adults are rational decision-makers

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<p>This certainly does explain most decisions people make while in the 18-25 age bracket.</p>

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If the goal is to flunk out lazy students, then fair enough, let's flunk out all lazy students, regardless of major. Why are the engineers singled out?

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<p>If all the other departments jumped off of a bridge, should engineering?</p>

<p>I don't get the problem myself. Grade deflation is not the problem with engineering or stem majors. When it comes to getting jobs you need the degree so it doesn't matter if you have grade deflation in that major. If the average GPA for these majors is 2.5, than employers know this. They know how to compare a top rank university to a lower tiered university GPA. </p>

<p>The only problem is that kids have been getting A's in high school like candy and it is no longer Halloween in college. It is a mind game. Besides you have to weed out the kids who really should not be taken up space. I think I read it costs colleges more to educate science and engineering majors so those they stay need to be able to do the work. </p>

<p>Maybe it is the humanities that need some grade deflation.</p>

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Many students who flunk out of engineering at, say, MIT, could probably have passed if they had gone to an easier, low-tier engineering school.

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I see at least a few problems with this. First, prove it; if they could have passed by going to a lower-ranked school, why didn't they? Statistically speaking, do MIT drop-outs (outliers aside, hah) do better than graduates from state flagships? I'm not even sure that looking at students who did transfer to easier schools who went on to succeed would be enough. After all, they did have the good sense to make the move, so you might be running into a selection bias issue. This brings me to another issue with this: that life success (and success in professional life, including engineering) depends on more than ability or potential, and it's not always society's fault if people don't live up to their potential. Failure at MIT in engineering which causes a student to leave engineering altogether, instead of pursuing engineering elsewhere, might simply be an indication that the student isn't cut out for engineering. Note that it's not the fact that the student performed poorly, but the fact that the student chose to leave the field. This doesn't make them bad people, and that's not what I'm trying to say... just that if you're someone who is prone to give up when the going gets tough, you might be better off doing something that you're better at (whether this is due to personal aptitude or inherent differences across majors is another issue). I don't feel like flunking out at a good school makes you a victim of anything.</p>

<p>I don't buy that. That talented and otherwise qualified students bail out because of the gpa. If they bail out, they aren't qualified! Sure they might be smart enough, but they don't have the work ethic. What engineering firm wants a bright worker but one that won't apply themselves? None. You need to be smart and have a work ethic to succeed. Sure, maybe schools aren't graduating the sheer number of STEM graduates, but the bright, good workers are graduating.</p>

<p>Why are the engineers singled out? </p>

<p>Because when engineers fail bridges fall down and people DIE!</p>

<p>Great point MomfromKC. If an electrical engineer fails, my Toyota Prius careens off a cliff and I'm dead. If a film student fails, I lose a few hours of my time with a bad movie.</p>

<p>National</a> Trends in Grade Inflation, American Colleges and Universities suggests that engineering and social studies are about 0.1 to 0.2 GPA points below humanities, and science is about 0.3 GPA points below.</p>

<p>I.e. the difference between A- and A, or B and B+, or C- and C at most.</p>

<p>Of course, at the margins, where someone may be getting a 1.7-1.9 GPA currently, but would get a 2.0 to 2.2 GPA with more grade inflation, that may keep him/her out of academic probation and dismissal. But how many students does that actually affect, given that courses graded on a curve are likely to put the mean, median, and mode grade much higher than that?</p>

<p>I think the economy needs good, hard-working engineers and will, in the end, choose the same people to fill their job openings even if GPAs inflate. Hiring managers aren't stupid. The GPA employers require would simply go up if STEM programs started inflating GPAs. The only place I see this as a potential problem is for engineering students who want to go to a competitive professional school. Med schools generally regard a GPA from an easy major the same with only a slight advantage for engineering students that doesn't compensate for the increased difficulty. That's probably because med schools want to boast higher average GPAs in their entering classes rather than producing better doctors, unfortunately. </p>

<p>Oh well. Don't major in engineering if your goal is to go to med school and you can't get the GPA you need as an engineering student.</p>

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Why are they treated differently from the engineers?

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Because their material is easier. In many ways this is the same as one of your later arguments about students failing out of MIT - had those students gone to (for example) Central Florida they may well have achieved a significantly higher GPA, just as if they had chosen to go to an easier major. It is all the same issue - if you try a harder program, you are likely going to have a lower GPA than if you do an easier program. Attempting a harder program and failing is always penalized - it sucks, but that's life, and it is not restricted to engineering or even academia.</p>

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Many students who flunk out of engineering at, say, MIT, could probably have passed if they had gone to an easier, low-tier engineering school. Hence, they are just as 'qualified' as those graduates that are produced every year by that low-tier school. Nevertheless, they don't graduate with engineering degrees.

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Not necessarily - just because they got into MIT does not guarantee that they could graduate with an engineering degree from ANY decent school! Many of the reasons for student failure are school or even department-independent. Many other reasons can also be mitigated by the student - if you are getting C's at MIT, there may be other schools that will accept you as a transfer if you actually try, but many would prefer to graduate from MIT as a linguist than from Purdue as an engineer! The ones who get to the "abandon all hope" stage only get there by passing up multiple warnings that if they want an engineering degree they should pursue it elsewhere.</p>

<p>As a note, in my first try at an engineering degree, I failed miserably, but it is not as if I was aceing all my non-engineering classes either - I had study and discipline problems that would have gotten me kicked out of ANY program!</p>

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If the average GPA for these majors is 2.5, than employers know this. They know how to compare a top rank university to a lower tiered university GPA.

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Yes, and engineering GPA's typically only average 0.1-0.3 below the school averages, so it is not as huge as people seem to think. Regardless, engineering graduates are not competing against English majors for the same jobs*, so all that really matters is your GPA relative to other engineers anyway!</p>

<p>As an example, may engineering firms expect at least a 3.00 GPA. My wife was an education major, a field with notoriously HIGH GPA's, and her prospective employers wanted to see a 3.50 GPA minimum. If you found a way to raise engineering GPA's by 0.3, all that would happen is that engineering companies would raise their minimum GPA's by the same amount.</p>

<p>*: Please note that law and medical schools ARE discipline-blind, which is why so many people intent on those programs choose easy-A fields where possible.</p>

<p>Anyone who wants to study engineering can choose if they like. All it requires, just like any other course is to put the necessary effort to the course, and you will do well.
If a course requires a student to study up 20 hours each week, they should. That's the simple truth, and if they don't, then get the hell out. Rather than grade inflation, give out scholarships to students who a wiliing to take the challenge, and let scholarships and opportunities act as an incentive for other students.
I know students who sit down all day, and just whine about their classes, whereas there are some who go out of thier way to study hard, and prepare for a professional career.
When foreign countires are developing cutting edge technologies all we have to show are engineering students that are getting cut by technologies. And if the lazy engineerings don't want to study, everyone is still better off with mediocre and less knowledgeable engineers as long as they increase the economy's output.</p>

<p>I want a doctor who is COMPETENT, not one who feels good about him/herself.</p>

<p>I want my medications to help me, not kill me because the ChemE who helped design them was an idiot.</p>

<p>I want bridges built by engineers who KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING, not engineers who were passed thru their programs, just to boost their self-esteem.</p>

<p>As a structural engineer, I've seen scary documents and building problems/collapses due to shoddy engineering. There obviously ARE C students designing buildings and bridges. I don't think grade inflation is the answer.</p>

<p>At my school (top 10 engineering), I find the grading to be fair and reasonable. There are some "weeder" classes, but those tend to come with (helpful) curves. All this media hype about grade deflation, weeder classes, etc. seems ridiculous, IMO. From what I have witnessed, only those students who really don't know what they're doing/aren't cut out to be engineers fail out (there are, of course, exceptions - I've seen people take on too much at once, problems in their personal lives, etc.). But generally, I just find this all to be so over-hyped. Obviously, engineering isn't the easiest major ever, but I don't find current standards to be problematic.</p>

<p>We could always just switch the grading system from ABC to %. My kids' middle and high school grades come out at %. You can easily see the difference between a 95% and a 98%. STEMers like math. Let's just start a revolution!</p>

<p>The problem isn't with the grading. It's with the teaching style. Sitting through engineering classes and deciphering broken engrish lectures is a chore. The curriculum and learning style rarely relate to anything in the real world.</p>