If you haven’t read or watched a report about grade inflation, go to google and read a few. There are many.

I’m a math guy, but I like grammar and have been known to read a book or two. I went to a high school where we took composition and literature every year. The English courses were divided into one semester of composition and one of literature. I wrote what seemed like 1,000 essays. We rarely, if ever, stepped out of the 5 paragraph format.

Our senior year we wrote a research paper. We learned all of the MLA bibliography (like walking uphill both ways, in the snow – we used typewriters to line up our bibliography entries!!!) formats.

By the time I entered college freshman composition, I could write an error-free 5 paragraph essay in a short time. I did. I got my first graded composition returned to me. The was only a letter grade – no comments. I made a “C.” I wasn’t angry or shocked or upset. I had made a “C” or two (and lower) in my life. I was curious, though. So I asked the instructor about my grade.

His answer to my “what was wrong with it?” was “nothing.” He then explained that, by the time a student graduates from high school, it can be assumed that the student can write an error-free essay. This means that such an essay is an average effort. For the paper to earn an “A,” it had to be excellent. A “B” was earned if it was good.

This was a good slap in the face for me. I knew that I was not an excellent writer. So “C” it was.

Writing and the Grade Scale