Grade inflation in Connecticut High Schools and How The SAT/ACT Helps Students At Rigorous Schools

By General Education Advice

Since I work with students from schools ranging from New Haven to Middletown to Stonington, I have a reasonable comparative understanding of the strength of Connecticut schools in the Middlesex, New Haven and New London County areas.

If your child attends one of the stronger schools in the area – Guilford, Daniel Hand, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, East Lyme, among others that come to mind – I have some bad news.  I also have some good news, that won’t initially appear like good news, at least to most students who are not looking forward to the SATs and ACTs.

I regret to report that I meet with an abundance of students that have an average above 90, on the 1-100 scale, or if letter grades are given, somewhere in the A- range or if on a 4.0 school, somewhere above 3.5. When I first started this work years ago, I assumed that I must be working with a small subset of top students. As my children started progressing through the school system and I got to meet their friends – with a clear variety of scholastic abilities – I started noticing grade inflation. How could Jake (fake name!) have a 3.5? I also realized the same with my students since some of those with 95 averages seemed like they would be B to B plus students. The culprit – grade inflation. Why is this bad news? Those who get As at The Williams School, for example, are really earning old school As. It definitely is not fair but colleges will also see As from a plethora of students at Grade Inflation High. That diminishes the real achievement of students earning As at top high schools in Connecticut.

The good news: in most cases, students who get the “real As” do very well on comparative tests. Hard to believe – I know – but the SATs and ACTs end up being more fair than grades in such cases.