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How Easy Is It to Get Good Grades?

An "A" grade is not what it used to be. In 1960, only about 16 percent of students earned "A" grades at US colleges and universities. In 2015, in an updated study of grade inflation at institutions of higher learning, that number had jumped more than 2.5 times: 42 percent of the grades handed out by professors on two-year and four-year campuses were A’s.

The website GradeInflation.com says that the findings are based on an analysis of colleges that collectively enroll about 1 million students. The site also claims that GPAs at four-year institutions are going up by 5 to 6 percentage points every decade.

The ABCs of today's higher education:

  • The number of students earning a grade of "D" or "F" has remained steady. So the bell curve doesn’t look much like a bell anymore. Researchers say more "A" grades have come at the expense of "B" and "C" grades.

  • At community colleges, grade inflation is less prominent. There, an "A" grade is given out about 36 percent of the time, and that rate has been declining slightly.

  • Despite the grade inflation, students do not seem to be studying more or working harder. They’re actually studying less than students in the past, according to a 2010 review by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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More Info: Harper's Magazine

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