Grade inflation--the gradual increase in average GPAs(grade-point averages) over the past few decades—is often considered a product of a consumer era in higher education, in which students are treated like customers to be pleased. But another, related force—a policy often buried deep in course catalogs called “grade forgiveness”—is helping raise GPAs.
Grade forgiveness allows students to retake a course in which they received a low grade, and the most recent grade or the highest grade is the only one that counts in calculating a student’s overall GPA.
The use of this little-known practice has accelerated in recent years, as colleges continue to do their utmost to keep students in school (and paying tuition) and improve their graduation rates. When this practice first started decades ago, it was usually limited to freshmen, to give them a second chance to take a class in their first year if they struggled in their transition to college-level courses. But now most colleges save for many selective campuses, allow all undergraduates, and even graduate students, to get their low grades forgiven.
College officials tend to emphasize that the goal of grade forgiveness is less about the grade itself and more about encouraging students to retake courses critical to their degree program and graduation without incurring a big penalty. “Untimely,” said Jack Miner, Ohio State University’s registrar, “we see students achieve more success because they retake a course and do better in subsequent contents or master the content that allows them to graduate on time.”
That said, there is a way in which grade forgiveness satisfies colleges’ own needs as well. For public institutions, state funds are sometimes tied partly to their success on metrics such as graduation rates and student retention—so better grades can, by boosting figures like those, mean more money. And anything that raises GPAs will likely make students—who, at the end of the day, are paying the bill—feel they’ve gotten a better value for their tuition dollars, which is another big concern for colleges.
Indeed, grade forgiveness is just another way that universities are responding to consumers’ expectations for higher education. Since students and parents expect a college degree to lead a job, it is in the best interest of a school to turn out graduates who are as qualified as possible—or at least appear to be. On this, students’ and colleges’ incentives seem to be aligned.
26. What is commonly regarded as the cause of grade inflation?
A. The change of course catalogs.
B. Students’ indifference to GPAS.
C. Colleges’ neglect of GPAS.
D. The influence of consumer culture.
1. 识别：题干翻译为“什么通常被认为是分数膨胀的原因?”。 根据排除法，没有询问态度，选项也不是态度词;没有提及论据证明论点，没有询问单词短语的含义且细节信息过多，也不是最后一题。故可以顺利识别为细节题。
2. 解题：根据细节题定位加理解的解题思路，需用题干中(优先用名词)能定位至文中唯一位置的关键词进行定位。故可用26题中的grade inflation和cause回文定位，可定位至首段首句：Grade inflation--the gradual increase in average GPAs(grade-point averages) over the past few decades—is often considered a product of a consumer era in higher education, in which students are treated like customers to be pleased.其中Grade inflation对应题干为原词复现，而原文的is often considered a product of，被视作是…的产物，与题干中的cause原因为同义表达。故26题可以直接根据题干关键词定位的首段首句进行理解解题，此句含义为：分数膨胀—在过去几十年GPA(平均绩点)的逐渐增加—通常被认为是高等教育消费时代的产物，在这个时代，学生被当作消费者来对待，以获得满意。与D项The influence of consumer culture(消费者文化的影响)表意相同，26题的正确答案即为D。
27. What was the original purpose of grade forgiveness?
A. To help freshmen adapt to college learning.
B. To maintain colleges’ graduation rates.
C. To prepare graduates for a challenging future.
D. To increase universities’ income from tuition.
4. 解题：题干中有能定位至文章唯一位置的关键词original purpose，因此可以用题干信息定位后理解做题。原文第三段第二句的first started(最开始)与original purpose为同义表达，且句子开头的this practice为指代，指代向前还原后的内容即为题干中的grade forgiveness。那么理解句意后即可解题，三段二句的中文意思为：当这种做法在几十年前开始时，通常仅限于大一新生，用来给他们第二次机会，如果他们在过渡到大学水平课程的过程中遇到困难的话。能够与A项To help freshmen adapt to college learning.(帮助大一新生适应大学学习)完美对应。故A为正确答案。
28. According to Paragraph 5, grade forgiveness enable colleges to_________.
A. obtain more financial support
B. boost their student enrollments
C. improve their teaching quality
D. meet local governments’ needs
2. 解题：题干中的grade forgiveness可与五段二句的better grades对应，enable与can可以相呼应，而colleges与原文中五段二句的public institutions实为同一含义。故题干与原文的五段二句完美对应，此句翻译为“对于公共机构而言，州基金有时与他们在毕业率和学生留校率等指标上的成功挂钩——因此，通过提高这些数据，得到更好的成绩就意味着更多的钱。”28题四个选项中只有A项obtain more financial support(获得更多的财政支持)与金钱相关，所以28题正确答案为A。若此题定位有困难，无法将同义替换的表达相对应，也可以用选项去原文进行定位，排除解题。B中的student enrollment(学生入学率)在原文无提及，原文说的是student retention(学生留校率)，并且是将留校率与财政支持挂钩，本质还是在说成绩宽恕能为大学提供更多财政资金。C中的teaching quality(教学质量)和D中的local governments’ need(当地政府需要)在文中也没有提及。原文只说到各州会针对大学的毕业率和留校率给予相应的财政支持，并未说明成绩宽恕是满足了当地政府的需要。故应用选项排除法，此题依旧可选出正确选项A。