2016-10-12 11:02 供稿单位: 新航道 原创作者:新航道
Ask people what’s wrong in American higher education, and you’ll hear about grade inflation(分数膨胀，即后文提及的几乎每个学生都能得到A-甚至A的现象). At Harvard a few years ago, a professor complained that the most common grade was an A-. He was quickly corrected: The most common grade at Harvard was an A.
Across 200 colleges and universities, over 40 percent of grades were in the A realm(领域). At both four-year and two-year schools, more students receive A’s than any other grade — a percentage that has grown over the past three decades.
Among older graduates, figures like these usually elicit a comment involving the words “coddled(被溺爱的),” “damn” and “millennials(千年).” But the opposite problem worries me even more: grade deflation(与上文所说grade inflation相反). It happens whenever teachers use a forced grading curve(评分曲线): The top 10 percent of students receive A’s, the next 30 percent get B’s, and so on. Sometimes it’s mandated by institutions; sometimes it’s chosen by teachers.
The goal is to fight grade inflation, but the forced curve suffers from two serious flaws. One: Itarbitrarily limits the number of students who can excel. If your forced curve allows for only seven A’s, but 10 students have mastered the material, three of them will be unfairly punished. (I’ve found a huge variation in overall performance among the classes I teach.)
After analyzing grading systems, the economists Pradeep Dubey and John Geanakoplos concluded that a forced grade curve is a disincentive to study. “Absolute grading is better than grading on a curve,” they wrote.
The more important argument against grade curves is that they create an atmosphere that’stoxic by putting students against one another. At best, it creates a hypercompetitive(竞争超级激烈的) culture, and at worst, it sends students the message that the world is a zero-sum(非赢即输的) game: Your success means my failure.
A few years into my teaching career, I set out to change that attitude among my students. I started experimenting with grading schemes(评分方案) that would encourage community andcollaboration — while still maintaining standards and assessing(评价) students individually.
1. I started experimenting with grading schemes(评分方案) that would encourage community and collaboration — while still maintaining standards and assessing(评价) students individually. 这个句子包含一个定语从句，先行词是grading schemes，连接词是that，从句部分是“would encourage community and collaboration”。 while doing… 同时做......experiment with… 从事/进行…的实验 [参考译文]
In fairness, plenty of people believe in the opposite view — that the world is a zero-sum game — and that colleges (especially business schools like the one where I teach) should reflect that reality. I understand their view, but as an organizational psychologist, I’ve found that they’re wrong.
2. In fairness, plenty of people believe in the opposite view — that the world is a zero-sum game — and that colleges (especially business schools like the one where I teach) should reflect that reality. 这个句子包含两个并列的同位语从句，“that the world is a zero-sum game—and that colleges (especially business schools like the one where I teach) should reflect that reality”是the opposite view的同位语。 In fairness 事实上plenty of 许多 [参考译文]