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Thread: Nearly half of all college grades are A's

  1. #1
    Honor Thy Inferior Array Such Irony's Avatar
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    Default Nearly half of all college grades are A's

    Nearly half of all college grades are A's

    Do you think there is too much grade inflation in college? Or do you think the students for the most part earned those grades? Do you think high grades are given out too easily?

    If I got an A in a course and found out that nearly half the students also got an A, I admit that I wouldn't be as proud of the achievement then if only a small percent received an A. I do think there is definitely grade inflation going on and I don't think all the students who got an A, necessarily did A-level work.

    Part of the problem I think stems from the tenure process for teachers. Receiving tenure depends in part on students' evaluations of teaching. If you are too difficult, students are likely to rate you lower. So I think some teachers feel the pressure to be a little easier grade wise.

    On the other hand, I don't believe in grading curves where only a certain percent should get a certain grade. Sometimes you do have a class where the students are particularly bright and motivated or a class where students are particularly dumb or unmotivated. The grade distributions should be different for these classes.

    In some graduate school classes, most of the students get an A. I don't necessarily see a problem with this as graduate students are more likely to be highly intelligent and motivated and they probably do deserve the A.
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  2. #2
    eating bugs out of hair. Array prplchknz's Avatar
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    in grad school according to my sister in law a is passing b is failing basically. so you have to make all a's to succeed in grad school
    by @magpie

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array You's Avatar
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    hmm, interesting.
    Oh, its

  4. #4


    From the classes I have had, some were definite easy A's but others were classes where the prof prided in themselves that very few got As or A-s but I managed so the link may or may not be exaggerating a bit. My post was referring to undergrad private school..

    It's very easy to get Bs but you have to work a bit for the A's I've noticed.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glycerine View Post
    It's very easy to get Bs but you have to work a bit for the A's I've noticed.
    Generally my perception, although some classes were much easier to get A's in.

    Although, I will say my peers definitely held back my professors from moving on at times.
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  6. #6
    insert random title here Array Randomnity's Avatar
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    They published the averages for my classes in undergrad and it was usually in the 60s. I think they also publish the % who get A/B/etc....I don't remember any class where half the class got an A. Closer to 20-30% from what I remember.

    I thought this was weird: "60 percent of college students feel that their intellectual ability is "above average," with the implication that this is a problem. It actually sounds on the low end to me - the below average students don't make it to college. Unless they mean "above the average college student", which they didn't say, and which would also not really be relevant to the point, since I'm positive that more than 50% of people think they're "above average" intelligence.

    edit: grad school everyone usually does get an A. But that's different. I don't think it's because the classes are easy, I think it's because grad school specifically targets the group of people who were getting As in undergrad.
    -end of thread-

  7. #7


    Other things I would like to note is that I think grades are somewhat about how smart you (10%) and how well and willing you are in playing the game (90%). A little is about being able to think for yourself but most of it is about giving what the teacher wants and possibly going a little beyond that in undergrad.

  8. #8
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    Considering the Flynn Effect and the impacts of easy access to knowledge through the Internet, the number of hours spent studying might not be relevant to easy grading. And if you perceive it from this perspective, is it possible that there's a knowledge difference between the southerners and others that account for the appearance of more difficult marking through the NBER study? At present, kids appear to be more canny and focused on their areas of interests at an earlier age.

    So then, does this mean that education MUST be made more difficult to accommodate for the increase of knowledge? If so, why is it so important to categorise children into respective cattle call chutes?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array Eckhart's Avatar
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    I find foreign school systems a bit confusing, so I ask: College = High School, like university?

    If so then I think it greatly depends on the courses, at least here, cannot speak for others of course. Some in my university are rather easy to pass, and there are many good grades as a result (although nowhere close to being more than half students getting best grade). However some courses there is only a small minority of students who passed at all, and you are happy when there is even one who has not just passed with a crappy grade. Some majors have probably more easy courses than others.

  10. #10
    On a mission Array Usehername's Avatar
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    May 2007


    Speaking as a college instructor, the problem is that when everyone in the community has redefined what those letters mean, to give grades according to the old meaning is problematic. It's like saying "gay" only means "happy." It doesn't, and you can't impose that old meaning onto today's standards without knowingly bucking them.

    I grade papers old-school but give significant participation/homework grades (which I hate, but it's the lesser of two evils. I'd rather adequately diagnose their performance and then acknowledge effort than inflate the quality of their performance and misrepresent their work's value). This way pre-everythings whose grades do determine their futures have some wiggle room with the new cultural standard but I can still grade according to their performance. When I'm older I'll be more mean but that's the way my department does it and since I'm still learning to teach I'm following their standards.
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