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Grade Inflation in the IOT Sector (1994-04)

Grade Inflation in the IOT Sector (1994-04)

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Grade Inflation in the IOT Sector (1994-04)

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  1. Grade Inflation in the IOT Sector (1994-04) Presentation at Limerick Institute of Technology - April 16 2008 by Martin O’Grady

  2. Grade Inflation • A pattern of improving grades over time that is not matched by improved learning and achievement.

  3. Grade Increase (1994-2004) • Rate of Distinctions, First Class and 2.1 awards • National Certificates, Diplomas and Degrees • Each IOT, combined IOTs • All graduates • Graduates in Business, Humanities, Engineering and Science/Technology

  4. Certificates by Discipline

  5. Certificates: % Change in Distinctions

  6. Diplomas: % Change in Distinctions

  7. Degrees: % Change in 1st

  8. Degrees: % Change in 2.1

  9. Summary of Grade Increase in Certificates (94-96 to 02-04) • Distinctions • Overall Change = + 37% • Discipline range = +16(Bus) to + 64 (Hum) • Institute Range = -38 (Tall.) to + 90 (GMIT)

  10. Summary of Grade Increase in Diplomas (94-96 to 02-04) • Distinctions • Overall = + 42% • Discipline Range = +5(Hum) to +64(Sc) • Institute Range = -61 (Tall) to +159 (Lett)

  11. Summary of Grade Increase in Degrees (94-96 to 02-04) • First Class • Overall = +52% • Discipline Range = +24(Sc) to +118 (Bus) • Institute Range = -20%(LIT) to +278(Tall) • Second Grade 1 • Overall = +6% • Discipline Range = -20(Sc) to + 22 (Eng) • Institute Range = -50 (Dk) to +61 (GMIT)

  12. Does Grade Increase = Inflation? • Have the learning abilities/motivation of students improved sufficiently? • Has the teaching/education of students improved sufficiently? OR • Have standards declined?

  13. CAO Points: Measure of Ability • Questions • Are CAO points predictive of college grades? • Are minimum points on courses related to average ability of student groups? • Is there grade inflation in CAO points?

  14. Predictive power of CAO points – The NUI study • Unpublished NUI Study (2004) • UCD, UCC, NUIG, NUIM • Arts, Commerce, Science, Law • Graduates in 2003 and 2004 • Findings • +505 points vs.<405 + 3 times rate of 1/2.1 • 405-450 points = 7% firsts • <405 points = 3% firsts

  15. Predictive power of CAO points: IT Tralee Data • Study of 591 1st and 2nd year students in Business School in 1999-2000 • Study of 120 1st year Certificate in Business studies students in 2003-04 • Relationship between exam success and CAO points at entry for each individual student in both studies

  16. Results for 1st Years (99-00)

  17. Results for 2nd Years (99-00)

  18. Results for 1st Years (03-04) • CAO Points Range = 190-455 (Mean 289) (N=120) • Correlation between points and overall exam mark (r=.549, p<0001) • Points 190-249 = Mean Mark of 41 (33.3% pass rate) • Points 250-299 = Mean Mark of 48 (56% Pass rate) • Points 300+ = Mean Mark of 57 (83% pass rate)

  19. Are minimum points on courses related to average ability of student groups? • Analysis of all Certificate and Diploma Courses in the IOT Sector in 2002 • Correlation between minimum and median points (r=.788, p<.001, N=258)

  20. Is there grade inflation in CAO points?

  21. Is there grade inflation in CAO points? • 1995: 19% got 400+ points 39% got less than 200 points • 2005: 29% got 400+ points 27% got less than 200 points • Analysis of LC grades shows pattern of grade increase goes back to 1991 at least

  22. Decline in minimum points for entry to IOT courses • Major decrease between 1991- 2002 in proportion of courses requiring at least 250 points • Major increase between 1991- 2002 in the proportion of courses allowing access to AQA

  23. Change in Entry Points Profile Cert/Dip Courses

  24. Comparison of 91-94 with 99-02 entry points: Certs./Dips. • 91-94 • 250+ points = Mean of 57% of courses • AQA = Mean of 1.5% • 99-02 • 250+ points = Mean of 33% of courses • AQA = Mean of 17%

  25. Ab Initio Degree Minimum Points (1991-2000)

  26. Grade Inflation 94-04 • Average CAO points climbed significantly • Nevertheless, entry points for IOT courses declined significantly • But, grades at graduation have increased markedly • Signals a pattern of significant grade inflation

  27. Do CAO points explain inter-institute differences in grades • Study using 2002 minimum and median points and course entry numbers for Certs/Diplomas • Each course assigned a weighted median point (median by number admitted) • Mean of weighted medians obtained for each Institute (divide by total places) • Index of average student ability of entry cohort • Range from 274 - 375

  28. Comparison of higher and lower points’ institutes: Certs.

  29. The Dangers of Grade Inflation • The ceiling effect – lack of discrimination at the top • Self-perpetuating momentum • Competition • Impact on student performance • Drift from objective standards or criteria • Impact on education • Qualification devaluation/inflation

  30. Whence grade Inflation? • Universalisation/homogenisation of higher education • Normal distribution of learning ability • Digging deeper to fill places • Egalitarian zeitgeist • Drive towards institutional growth • Pressures to attract and retain students • Contagion Effects • Funding Models • Unit costing • Lack of either system or culture to maintain standards

  31. Network for Irish Educational Standards • Data and research papers by Martin O’Grady, Simon Quinn and Brendan Guilfoyle on www. stopgradeinflation.ie • Network for Irish Educational Standards • Research, information, opinion welcome • Join the network for updates