What's wrong with a B+?

Three different freshmen approached me at various times today with concerns about whether they should stay in Honors Geometry or drop down to College Prep. That’s OK. But for two of them the reason was that their current average is B+. Not D+, not even C+, but B+!

What’s wrong with a B+? B+ has always been above the average grade for Honors Geometry. It’s something for anyone to be proud of. So what’s the problem? Is it merely that they’ve always gotten an A in math? Are their parents pressuring them to get an A? Are we teachers inadvertently pressuring them this much? Are they already so worried about getting into college that they think a grade in first quarter of freshman year has to be an A? A B+ in Honors Geometry looks great — and term grades don’t go on the transcript anyway.

We all know about grade inflation. But we don’t know what to do about it. In an honors course I can live with the idea that everyone should get some sort of A or B (although I’ve known a number of students who learned a huge amount of math despite getting a C in honors math); what I can’t live with is the idea that everyone should get an A.

Categories: Teaching & Learning, Weston