Grade Inflation Means Test Scores Are Even More Important

By General Education Advice

A local Connecticut high school revealed eligibility for National Honor Society: anyone with a 90 average and above could apply.  That seems sensible.  90 is the beginning of A range.  A- and A students should be eligible for the NHS.  Back in the 1980s-1990s, A students were top students, perhaps the top 10-15% of the class.  Certainly, there were no more than 25% of the class above 90.

In relation to the aforementioned high school, over 50% of the class was eligible. That’s completely crazy and illustrates rampant grade inflation.  How can colleges determine admission?

The only other objective factor: test scores.  The SATs have become the blunt force weapon used by college admissions officials to lop off many applicants from consideration.

Objective?!  You object!  Yes.  Evaluating relative strength in activities is certainly not objective.  How does one compare participation or excellence in band versus soccer?  The college application – particularly the essays – must be in good shape but again, evaluation here is subjective.  Other factors – the hooks -such as legacy, connections etc. are not objective.

There are some high schools such as Guilford High School and East Lyme High School where an A average is difficult to obtain at least compared to many other Connecticut high schools.  Some private schools – such as The William School – an A really is an A.  Not so much in other Connecticut high schools.

For normal students – which now includes those with A averages – the SATs are the most objective factor that college admissions officials use to evaluate students.

Daryl Capuano

CEO, The Learning Consultants and Connecticut’s top private education consultant
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