Grades in Fallbrook High School

9th Grade, First Semester, 1997-8

Letter Grade%
Language ArtsMath
F 9.919.5

Grades 9-11, 1997-8

Letter Grade%
Language ArtsMath
A and B52.443.4
D and F21.033.0

Although these grades for some reason led to charges that FUHS teachers were inflating grades, in comparison to the May, 1998 SAT test scores, I think it is quite remarkable that so many C's, D's and F's are being handed out. For comparison,

90% of all letter grades at Stanford are A's or B's, while 78.4% are A's or B's at UC Berkeley. At UCLA 75.8% of all letter grades are A's and B's. Numbers from the University of San Diego reveal more balance, with 65% of all grades falling at the A or B levels and 19% at the C level.
from SDUT 8/6/95, G5.

Thus FUHS teachers have obviously refrained from the grade inflation rampant elsewhere. I have always been very impressed when I have seen the gradebooks of my son's classes at Potter and FUHS that the teachers have high enough standards to hand out so many low letter grades.

Perhaps the critics are thinking that it is necessary to have a full bell-shaped distribution of grades, with most students receiving C's, the same number of students receiving B's and D's, and the same smaller number of students receiving A's and F's. This is a misconception, since the goal of education is for students to learn the material. If everyone ends up scoring 100% on tests that fully measure whether they have learned the subject matter, then everyone should in fact get an A, demonstrating full mastery of the subject.

Sources: VN 11/26/98, A19; NCT 11/29/98, B1.

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Copyright © 1998 by Tom Chester.
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Last update: 2 December 1998.