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Are More a's Being given out in Colleges and Universities?

The percentage of A's given out in colleges and universities almost tripled between 1940 and 2008, and A's made up almost 45 percent of grades given out in 2008. The percentage of B's has dropped slightly after a peak during the 1970s and '80s, and the percentage of C's dropped sharply after 1966 and again from the late 1980s to 2008, to about 15 percent in 2008. D's and F's have dropped to less than 5 percent each after starting at about 12 percent and about 6 percent, respectively. Researchers attribute the sharp rise in grades to historical factors, such as a reluctance for professors to fail students during the Vietnam War, as well as a more consumer-based approach to education.

More facts about universities and grade inflation:

  • Private universities tend to inflate grades the most, with A's and B's accounting for about 86 percent of all grades in private universities per year, as opposed to about 73 percent in public universities.

  • Researchers believe that the increase in grades was probably not because of harder working students. Rather, they believe that higher grades actually contribute to less student engagement, because if the students are expecting A's, they are not likely to make as much effort.

  • The types of schools that grade the harshest are those in the Southern U.S. and those that focus on engineering or science. Liberal arts schools tend to grade the easiest.

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More Info: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com

Discuss this Article

anon995553
Post 4

I firmly believe that it is up to the college student to bear the burden of studying and applying themselves to get a good grade. The pressure being put on professors and instructors is nonsense. Straighten up and fly right or get out and make room for the more serious students!

Viranty
Post 3

@RoyalSpyder - I disagree that college coursework has become easier, especially at my institution. Being a communications major, my COMM professor is one tough customer, and you better pray that you don't have him in two classes. He always hands out a ton of homework, he'll give you fifty page reading assignments, and he assigns several papers throughout the semester.

His tests are even worse, and no amount of studying can prepare you for them. I'm not trying to make this sound like a horror story, but here's my point. Though there are those that tend to go easy on their students, others will make sure you get your work done, and are actually preparing you for the real world. It goes both ways.

RoyalSpyder
Post 2
Last year, I took a summer course in Biology. I'm not usually one to complain about schoolwork, but even I was surprised at how insultingly easy it was. All you had to do was show up for class, listen to the lectures, and you would get an A. Many students complained about the class, and couldn't wait to be done. It's no wonder students are slacking off nowadays. No one is pushing them to be the best they can be. Just my opinion, but it's as if college has become less about work, and more about hanging out.
Chmander
Post 1
I don't believe that more A's are being given out in colleges and universities, especially not ones that are private. Aside from some exceptions, I haven't visited any educational institutions where grades were being inflated. Besides, isn't most college work the same? In other words, you do the assignments, and if you don't, you get kicked out. It's as simple as that. Besides, that's how the policy is at my college. I feel sorry for some of the freshmen there. They enter into a new year thinking that they can hang out with their friends as much as they want. However, when the grades come in, it's not pretty.

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