How to fix college grade inflation

Shutterstock.com

Article Highlights

  • The median grade in Harvard is an A-. The most frequently awarded grade is actually a straight A.

    Tweet This

  • Grade inflation isn't just a problem at Harvard.

    Tweet This

  • Colleges and universities need to take serious steps towards reining in grade inflation.

    Tweet This

Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield stirred up controversy recently by criticizing the rampant grade inflation at his institution. As reported by the Harvard Crimson, at a faculty meeting earlier this month, Mansfield asked the Dean of Undergraduate Education about the college's grade distribution, stating, "A little bird has told me that the most frequently given grade at Harvard College right now is an A-." The Dean corrected him: "The median grade in Harvard College is indeed an A-. The most frequently awarded grade in Harvard College is actually a straight A."

Grade inflation isn't just a problem at Harvard. A recent study of 200 colleges and universities found that more than 40 percent of all grades awarded were in the A range. Some have argued that these inflated grades are necessary to help students get ahead in a competitive job market. While that might be true for an individual professor or university, at the national level grade inflation is a negative-sum game that imposes serious costs on society. Therefore, universities need to take steps to bring it under control.

This article appeared in US News & World Report on December 26, 2013. It will be published here on January 2, 2014.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Sita Nataraj
Slavov

What's new on AEI

Rebuilding American defense: A speech by Governor Bobby Jindal
image Smelling liberal, thinking conservative
image Stopping Ebola before it turns into a pandemic
image All too many reasons for pessimism about Europe
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 20
    MON
  • 21
    TUE
  • 22
    WED
  • 23
    THU
  • 24
    FRI
Monday, October 20, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Warfare beneath the waves: The undersea domain in Asia

We welcome you to join us for a panel discussion of the undersea military competition occurring in Asia and what it means for the United States and its allies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters

AEI’s Election Watch is back! Please join us for two sessions of the longest-running election program in Washington, DC. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
What now for the Common Core?

We welcome you to join us at AEI for a discussion of what’s next for the Common Core.

Thursday, October 23, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Brazil’s presidential election: Real challenges, real choices

Please join AEI for a discussion examining each candidate’s platform and prospects for victory and the impact that a possible shift toward free-market policies in Brazil might have on South America as a whole.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.