Gimme an ‘A’

'A'Been to college lately, say within the last 10 years? Did you get something less than an ‘A’? If you answered yes, you’re one of the few not receiving inflated A’s at the college level, according to a recent report by the New York Times. A recent study of 200+ four-year colleges and universities (both public and private) found that 43% of letter grades given were of the ‘A’ variety. Coming in a close second was ‘B’ (at 30%). According to the study’s authors Stuart Rojstaczer and Christopher Healy, this is a 12% increase in the ‘A’ grade in the last 20 years, and a 28% increase in A’s awarded back in the 1960s.

This calls to question, are today’s college students smarter and working harder? Hardly, according to recent report. According to the Times:

Rather, the researchers argue that grade inflation began picking in the 1960s and 1970s probably because professors were reluctant to give students D’s and F’s. After all, poor grades could land young men in Vietnam.

They then attribute the rapid rise in grade inflation in the last couple of decades to a more “consumer-based approach” to education, which they say “has created both external and internal incentives for the faculty to grade more generously.” More generous grading can produce better instructor reviews, for example, and can help students be more competitive candidates for graduate schools and the job market.

The study author’s suggest that the ‘A’ expectation may lead to less studying and course-engagement. Rather, students can seemingly believe in the ‘A’ and if you believe, it can be… or ‘A’.

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2 Responses to Gimme an ‘A’

  1. 2athletes1blog says:

    sadly i agree. i am going to be a junior and i feel as if an a is expected and a b is you just didnt try. i thought college was suppose to be the toughest and most stressful academic period in ones life and it hasnt seemed that way to me…. so far atleast

    • jonesj6 says:

      Exactly. Certainly it seems true in many programs at the undergraduate level. Sadly it is also becoming more true at the graduate level – in my opinion.

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