CAMBRIDGE, MASS. - Harvard University, responding to recent concerns about grade inflation, is considering restoring a B as the average grade and clarifying the meaning of an A on transcripts. Last June, a record 91 percent of Harvard seniors graduated with some kind of honors on their diploma, while about half of Harvard's grades were A's, The Boston Globe reported. One proposal, discussed by a Harvard student-faculty committee, is to encourage professors to give more B grades by adjusting the numerical value of grades to narrow the grade-point gap between an A-minus and a B-plus. Another idea is to adjust student transcripts to include the percentage of A grades received by students in a given course, so someone reading a transcript could surmise if an A was a common or a rare grade.
PHILADELPHIA - This fall, 42 of Philadelphia's low-performing middle and elementary schools are to be turned over to for-profit companies and universities as part of the nation's largest school- privatization plan. The School Reform Commission, created by the state after it seized control of the city's school system in December, voted last week in favor of the plan, which affects more than one-quarter of the schools. The decision turns over 20 schools to a for-profit company, Edison Schools Inc. Twenty-two others will be run by other private companies and nonprofits. In addition, the district is planning to turn 28 schools over to outside management, perhaps by community groups. In response to the reforms, union officials predict that hundreds of disenchanted teachers will flee the city or retire early.
ANDOVER, MASS. - Andover High School phys ed teacher Carol Martini, whom the Monitor featured in "She's exercised Â- about jazzing up gym class" (March 26), captured the title of National Physical Education Teacher of the Year for the high school level. The award is bestowed by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, recognizing outstanding teaching performance and the ability to motivate today's youths to participate in a lifetime of physical activity.