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Grade Inflation Continues in IOT Sector

February 29, 2012

Is there no limit to how much grades can inflate in the Institutes of Technology? The trend runs right back to 1994 and perhaps earlier. Data from the research of Martin O’Grady and Brendan Guilfoyle show a constant upward trend at all undergraduate levels between 1994 and 2004. Recently, O’Grady has updated the picture to cover the subsequent four years up to 2008. The findings: inflation has been continuing apace. Let’s think about what inflation is. It is not just an improvement in average grades. It is a trend of such improvement without any evidence that genuinely enhanced learning is the causal agent.

When O’Grady and Guilfoyle did their original research on grades in the IOT sector, they found that between 1994 and 2004 the rate for the top grade had gone up at Certificate level by 38%, at Diploma level by 42% and at Honours Degree level by 52%. While this was happening, the CAO entry points for courses across the IOT sector were in steep decline. To make matters worse, throughout the same period, average grades in the Leaving Certificate, and hence CAO points, increased considerably. There were many more CAO points about; students coming in to the IOT sector were not able to get them but they were able to get much better grades when they graduated. Therein lies the sure signal of grade inflation.

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