Grade Inflation

Are academic standards being lowered?


Student grades have been going up at many of the country's colleges and universities. Nearly half of the grades given to Harvard undergraduates in recent years, for example, have been A's or A-minuses. There is some evidence of rising grades in the nation's high schools as well. Critics say that “grade inflation” represents a lowering of academic standards that began during the student unrest of the 1960s. They warn that unjustifiably high grades mislead colleges and graduate schools, potential employers and students themselves. Some researchers, however, deny that grade inflation exists, except perhaps at the most elite colleges. Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences has just adopted changes to try to reduce the number of A's and also to slash the number of graduates who ...

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