Despite Less Study Time, “A” Is Now The Most Common Grade For College Students
Via Mark Perry, it’s not just higher education tuition that is seeing inflation. It’s the grades too, meaning even as students pay more and more for their degrees those degrees are worth less.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the most common grade college students get today is an “A.”
A University of Minnesota chemistry professor has thrust the U into a national debate about grade inflation and the rigor of college, pushing his colleagues to stop pretending that average students are excellent and start making clear to employers which students are earning their A’s.
“I would like to state my own alarm and dismay at the degree to which grade compression … has infected some of our colleges,” said Christopher Cramer, chairman of the Faculty Consultative Committee. “I think we are at serious risk, through the abandonment of our own commitment of rigorous academic standards, of having outside standards imposed upon us.”
National studies and surveys suggest that college students now get more A’s than any other grade even though they spend less time studying. Cramer’s solution — to tack onto every transcript the percentage of students that also got that grade — has split the faculty and highlighted how tricky it can be to define, much less combat, grade inflation.
“In 1960, the average undergraduate grade awarded in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota was 2.27 on a four-point scale,” writes Professor Perry. “In other words, the average letter grade at the University of Minnesota in the early 1960s was about a C+, and that was consistent with average grades at other colleges and universities in that era. In fact, that average grade of C+ (2.30-2.35 on a 4-point scale) had been pretty stable at America’s colleges going all the way back to the 1920s.”
There seems to be inflation everywhere in higher education. Tuition costs are inflated. Student fees are inflated. Textbook costs are inflated. Salaries in higher education, too, are inflated for both faculty and administrators. Here in North Dakota, over the last 12 years, the average salary for a full professor at NDSU has increased $42,000. The salaries for the presidents of both NDSU and UND have doubled over the last decade, and the incoming chancellor for North Dakota’s higher education system Hamid Shirvani is getting a $120,000/year raise over his predecessor.
And yet, some still deny that there is a higher education bubble.Tags: college tuition, grade inflation, higher education, higher education bubble, tuition