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3 quick ways for libraries to impact grade inflation

August 9, 2011

Just a bit ago a great article from Inside HigherEd was sent out on Twitter.  The topic, grade inflation.
Duh dun duuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

The author, Peter Eubanks, talked about the various stresses on faculty that might explain why grade inflation is a problem in the first place.  It was, I think, well written and made great points.  Now, I’m going to work off the assumption that if you work in an academic library, career college or otherwise, you know what grade inflation is and the challenges it is creating in higher eduction.  If you don’t then I would urge you to spend a little more time looking around outside your area of expertise to get a better feel for the land.  I should also explain that I have been identified as a “grouper” meaning I naturally find areas of similarity between topics, issues, concerns, people, situations, whatever.  So it’s relatively easy for me to think of ways that the library can help with grade inflation, any library (though I will limit myself here to college libraries).  So let’s talk solutions then huh?  Specifically let’s talk about solutions that the library can be a part of.

1. remedial work assistance.  If you didn’t read my article in ALA-APA Worklife on career college libraries and ROI I mention this.  In his article Peter mentions that “college freshmen arrive on campus increasingly unprepared for college work”, that suggests the need for some remedial study to me.  Where better to get this then in the library?  And if you are in a large university setting then how is your learning center collaborating with the library?  Ask yourself, where can I impact learning??  Do you have study groups happening in your space?  Any tutoring going on?  Perhaps the library becomes part of a large integral part of college prep work at the local high school?  Come on, isn’t this the direction we are going anyway?

2. Teaching aides.  Maybe physical bodies, maybe just resources.  Whatever it is we should be helping to supply our faculty with what they need to help their students be successful – legitimately.   Think outside the box and see what cool and interesting new ways you can support your faculty.

3. The voice of reason.  Sometimes you just need someone to remind you that there is an issue.  Let the library be a place where this ball doesn’t get dropped.  Information literacy is, I think, at the core of this.  We have brought ourselves to a place where the regular guy on the street thinks the computer thinks for him.  Talk about how information literacy standards (not just the ACRL ones but the AASL ones too) are critical to the success of our society and don’t, stop, talking!  You know what the best part of this one is, we are already so good at.  🙂

And there you have it, three little ways the college library can help make a difference with grade inflation.  What other things did I miss?  What are you already doing that you think helps with this challenge?  Share this with your administrators and have some discussions that end in action plans for success!  Librarians as teachers, right??

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