Thursday, May 28, 2015

Grade Inflation or Not? You Decide.

Let's pick on Harvard:
A significant percentage of the Harvard University Class of 2015 graduated with an A- GPA or better, according to a new survey from student newspaper The Harvard Crimson.

For years, Harvard has been the subject of grade inflation suspicions, which this new survey seems to fuel.

"Over half the respondents reported a GPA of at least 3.67, the cutoff for an A- average," The Crimson reports. Around half of Harvard's Class of 2015 — 760 students — responded to The Crimson's survey.

However, 72% of respondents "think grade inflation is not much of a problem or not a problem at all at Harvard."
It's not the world's best sampling methodology, but that's still an awful lot of students getting A-'s.


Ellen K said...

Consider the following:
You have some very affluent students who often don't like to work at Harvard.
You have some minority students who may or may not be able to cut it at the work assigned to earlier generations who were admitted under the umbrella of diversity.
You have some students who were admitted based on geographic origin.
You have parents, many of whom are alums, who will refuse to pay tuition for kids who don't get gilded grades and who will down the line refuse to donate money to the school's foundation if their kids doesn't get high grades.
Liberal professors often give grades based more on alignment with their own ideology that in true academic rigor.

Anonymous said...

Per "I'm the Teacher, You're the Student" (highly recommended) by Patrick Allitt of Emory University: " Who's in favor of grade inflation? Nobody. Who practices grade inflation? Everybody."

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pseudotsuga said...

"Hey, Harvard kids, all you smart smarty pants! You see any grade inflation around here?"
"Uhhh....nope. We're ALL just that smart! There are no C students left at Harvard anymore!"
Levity aside, I suspect that what we are seeing as far as the non-STEM programs is not A for scholarly merit, but A for correct social justice signaling.
I wonder what the story is over on the other side of the quad where the Engineers hang out? Or are those people over at MIT instead?

maxutils said...

Harvard IS a biased sample. You can't just throw anormal curve at it and say, "Not enough Ds andFs" -- They are smart. But yeah, that's a lot of As, and I believe our Commander in Chief pulled As in Constitutional law … and appears never to have read it.

Auntie Ann said...

I don't know if Harvard is on the adjunct professor bandwagon: where poorly compensated PhD's struggle to get rehired on a class-by-class basis, and where a large part of that decision hinges on getting good student evaluations. Guess which adjunct is more likely to get good reviews and, thus, get rehired: the one who is a hard grader, or the one who is easy?