Here's a different kind of age-discrimination suit:
A 3.2 grade point average is not what it used to be.
That's what a Baylor University law school applicant, Michael Kamps, is arguing in a lawsuit against the university, which alleges that by neglecting to account for grade inflation when evaluating applicants’ undergraduate G.P.A.s, the admissions committee did not give Kamps the same chance at admission as it did younger applicants.
In the age discrimination suit, he claims that the 3.2 G.P.A. he earned in 1979 from Texas A&M University is equivalent to a 3.6 G.P.A. today because of grade inflation -- a phenomenon that has been plaguing colleges in the past few decades. Kamps said he doesn't think a legal challenge of this type has been brought in court before.
Kamps said he wants the court to look into the effects of grade inflation, and to rule that G.P.A. is not a valid evaluation standard when significant age differences are present among applicants.
Sometimes, the changing standards can work for you instead of against you. They've had to keep lowering the acceptable level of SAT scores because the scores kept dropping; those of us who took the test before the "experts" began improving the public schools so much now look like freakin' geniuses. Sometimes, the effects are neutral. No matter how much the standards have changed, ranking, say, 5th in your class still means the same thing it did in the days of higher standards; it takes the same effort and talent to be No. 5, no matter what the overall quality of your class is.
When the output (the label) stays the same and the input (the worth of the grades) is a variable, I think someone might have a case.
But sometimes there are different contemporaneous standards that can be problematic. I once worked for a boss whose standards were higher than every other boss's standards in the building. Those other bosses would give "exceeds expectations" for any little effort beyond someone's job description. My boss gave out so few of those that you practically had to be a super star to rise above a mere "meets expectations." When one of us would complain that his higher standards make us seem, to the rest of the building, less valuable than we really were, his response was basically, "Not my problem." Maybe he was right and the word got around to the rest of the building that the "meets expectations" coming from him meant more than it did from others. But I still think it makes sense for all the raters in the same hierarcy to use the same standards.