17 July 2011

Is there such a thing as a gentleman's B?

From a blog called  TaxProf Blog

July 15, 2011

43% of College Grades Are A's

Inside Higher Ed, Easy A:
Two critics of grade inflation have published a new analysis finding that the most common grade at four-year colleges and universities is the A (43% of all grades) -- and that Ds and Fs are few and far between. [Where A Is Ordinary: The Evolution of American College and University Grading, 1940–2009, by Stuart Rojstaczer (Duke) & Christopher Healy (Furman).]
Further, by comparing historical data to contemporary figures, the authors charge that there has been an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960 and 12 percentage points since 1988 in the percentage of As awarded in higher education. The study was published Wednesday [and collects] historical data from 200 four-year colleges and universities and contemporary data from 135.

Grade Distribution by Sector and Region
Sector/RegionAverage SAT% As% Bs%Cs% Ds% Fs
By sector
Private, nonprofit university124548.235.811.42.22.3
Private, nonprofit college119247.736.611.32.41.9
Public flagship university117242.334.515.54.13.6
Public satellite university105641.732.016.04.85.4
Public commuter university101739.031.817.55.46.3
By region
Midwest113545.034.014.03.73.3
Northeast115345.135.713.03.13.1
West107944.633.014.43.74.2
South110239.733.116.75.15.4
Total111543.033.814.94.14.2


I knew there was something fishy going on, taken from TaxProf Blog, which got it from Inside Higher Ed, I guess. So then, if the above data are close to the truth, then nearly all get As and Bs. Cs are given to those who piss off the professor, and Ds and Fs are given for God only knows what reasons. And, though I'm not sure it is valid these letter grades have been gradually rising since 1960. And the phenomenon they are measuring here, whatever it is, has been going on all over the country. Perhaps more prevalent at private colleges and universities not surprisingly I might add. I wondered about this when I saw the list of high school students graduating cum laude and higher a month or so ago.

Perhaps the gentlemen and gentlewomen all get As these days.

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