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Examining the Phenomenon of Grade Inflation

\r\n\r\nA new study appearing the Journal of Economic Perspectives examines grade inflation, a little quirk of  college politics that pits majors...


A new study appearing the Journal of Economic Perspectives examines grade inflation, a little quirk of college politics that pits majors against one another and can serve as a badge of honor for students from schools known to be tough relative to kids at more coddling schools.Per my college experience, as a chemical engineering major at Cornell, grade inflation was totally foreign. I was routinely annoyed by peers in softer majors with more subjective grading and friends at other schools (cough, Stanford, cough, cough, Harvard) whose curves were set to Bs or B+s, whereas mine were typically set to B-/C+.According to a piece on the Miller-McCune website, the new study finds that for the most part, the trend of raising mean grades wasn't born out--or, at least at the University of Michigan, wasn't happening noticeably fast. Further, if it is taking place, the authors say, it's a victimless crime and makes students/customers happy. There are two notable exceptions, where profs graded harshly (outside of science, math, and engineering classes): in required courses, where departments are weeding out potential majors from posers, and extremely popular classes with objective (read: multiple choice) tests.That explains why my 700-person Introduction to Wine class was deceptively tough.Photo by Flickr user jakevol2
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