Skip to comments.Substantiating Fears of Grade Inflation, Dean Says Median Grade at Harvard College Is A-
Posted on 12/04/2013 5:37:07 AM PST by reaganaut1
The median grade at Harvard College is an A-, and the most frequently awarded mark is an A, Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris said on Tuesday afternoon, supporting suspicions that the College employs a softer grading standard than many of its peer institutions.
Harris delivered the information in response to a question from government professor Harvey C. Mansfield 53 at the monthly meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
A little bird has told me that the most frequently given grade at Harvard College right now is an A-, Mansfield said during the meetings question period. If this is true or nearly true, it represents a failure on the part of this faculty and its leadership to maintain our academic standards.
Harris then stood and looked towards FAS Dean Michael D. Smith in hesitation.
I can answer the question, if you want me to. Harris said. The median grade in Harvard College is indeed an A-. The most frequently awarded grade in Harvard College is actually a straight A.
Harris said after the meeting that the data on grading standards is from fall 2012 and several previous semesters.
In an email to The Crimson after the meeting, Mansfield wrote that he was not surprised but rather further depressed by Harriss answer.
Nor was I surprised at the embarrassed silence in the whole room and especially at the polished table (as I call it), Mansfield added, referencing the table at the front of the room where top administrators sit. The present grading practice is indefensible.
On the other hand, Classics Department chair Mark J. Schiefsky, who was in attendance at Tuesdays meeting, said he was surprised by how high the median grade was.
(Excerpt) Read more at thecrimson.com ...
What a scam, if this is true.
Everyone’s exceptional at Harvard!
Where all the children are above average.
But do the hysterical careerist students who wind up with an A- threaten to sue the institution? I hope so!
A degree from Harvard ought to be printed on toilet paper. They are worthless barter, traded among influential liberals as passports to their place at the government trough and have nothing to do with genuine ability in the real world.
What was the last useful thing that a graduate of Harvard produced for this economy? Their cookie-cutter education does not prepare them to “think out of the box.”
The most useful thing about Harvard, is connections for jobs the rest of your life. The title on the certificate means nothing. Look at the idiots who ran banks into the ground in 2008. Most had Harvard guys leading them.
Showing up for most classes is a solid C. Turning in most of your assigned work gives you a B+. And parroting back the progressive line of thought brings the A. < /sarc >
Rather than face unpleasant discoveries about the distribution of below-average grades, Harvard has essentially done away with grades by giving only good grades.
This is true of the entire education system today, as I need not mention to anyone here.
You’re the “best and brightest”... you have to be, because you’re attending Haaavaad. A- in the classroom, F- as far as accomplishments in the real world, but A+ in salary for “trying”.
and all of SCOTUS is from that creepy institution
Yep. I know someone who used to teach at Harvard who was outright told that a low or failing grade to a black student was impermissible.
Very good post.
They get lots of theory, but little exposure to reality. IMO Harvard is more concerned about indoctrinating students in liberal orthodoxy than developing critical thinking skills. I would be reluctant about hiring people from an “elite” school like this.
I supervised two Harvard grads over the years (back when I had a job).
Both were very nice people; one, a boomer, was a good person with whom to discuss elevated topics, the other, Gen Xer was quite cheerful and energetic.
Neither was very productive, however and both were in need of constant supervision. The Gen Xer, in particular, needed constant “hand holding”
Beneath their fancy veneer of pompous and erudite jargon, many of the “best and brightest” have little to offer in the way of productive output.
Based on my own interactions with people like this, they usually shy away from doing any real work. They see themselves as being above the mundane task of producing something of value.
This is true where I work too (in math/stats). The student evaluation form and the value it is given is one of the the worst culprits in my opinion. If you want a chance at tenure and want to please the dean and the chairman then you better be getting great evaluations. Good luck getting such evaluations if you make your class too challenging. You might get a few good ones but mostly you’ll be raked over the coals by students who otherwise expect to get at least a B+ without much effort. You should teach well and prepare but making your class easy is the main ingredient in getting good evaluations. This is true for online evaluations (i.e. ratemyprofessors) as well and though few will admit it most look and most care.
In my experience the grads from elite schools are prone to engaging in endless theorizing and pontificating rather than doing any meaningful work.
These days, getting a B is like getting an F.
Exactly. I taught in a university for a few years mid-career. After the first semester I was called in and told my Student Opinion Survey results were bringing down the department's average and I needed to improve or go. My mistakes were that I assumed the students wanted to learn and I taught at too high a level. I did have one brilliant student with a photographic memory tell me that my course was the only one in which he actually learned something.
The original purpose of a college education was to produce people who could carry on an intelligent conversation on a variety of topics, read high-level material with understanding, analyze complex information using logical reasoning, and argue their reasoned opinions persuasively. Grades didn't matter as much as coming out of college with those skills. Accordingly, a professor who could actually educate was valued.
These days, a college degree, particularly one from an Ivy, is just a ticket to a major firm. As such, the only thing that matters are the magic words "summa cum laude", and any professor standing in the way of that is the enemy.
Has anyone other than Ted Kennedy ever flunked out of Harvard?
I’ve heard about the richest man in Cambridge, Mass.—————— he’s the guy with the Crayola franchise.
All in the name of egalitarianism. If everyone gets an “A” or “A-” then we truly know how brilliant people like BHO and Moochelle are.
I took an advanced accounting class during one of those short semesters (2 hour classes, 3 days per week for 9 weeks rather than the normal 18), averaged a 93% and got a B. I was livid. I went to the professor to complain. He told me the short semester classes attracted the most serious students and he curve graded. The whole class did so well that 96% was the cut-off point for an A-.
Mathematically, this is irrelevant if employers rely on class rank. Four years of college courses giving either an A or an A- will provide enough separate grades for enough separate courses that you can establish a class rank for the students that is almost the same as if the teachers gave grades on a 5 point scale.
Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard, after realizing that there was nothing they were likely to teach him that would make it worthwhile to potentially miss his window of opportunity in the small computer revolution.
The best were the best not because they gave easy grades, but because they gave life lessons which I still find useful.
Political correctness has rendered the Liberal Arts side of Harvard irrelevant
That’s good for prospective employers to know: “A-” is the new “C” for Harvard graduates.
“Mathematically, this is irrelevant if employers rely on class rank. Four years of college courses giving either an A or an A- will provide enough separate grades for enough separate courses that you can establish a class rank for the students that is almost the same as if the teachers gave grades on a 5 point scale.”
That’s how most law schools operate. It’s all about class rank. Grades are irrelevant.
Ted was suspended for two years from Harvard for cheating on a Spanish exam. (He had a friend take the exam for him.) After a brief enlistment in the ARMY, Ted re-enrolled and ultimately graduated. To the everlasting shame of my alma mater, the University of Virginia, Ted was admitted to its law school despite his record as a cheat.
Back when I was in Uni, I rented a room in a student boarding house, one of my flat mates was a Japanese grad student. Apparently the Harvard grading system is what Uni’s in Japan use... the students work so hard in the years before and during High School to get into University... that once there it’s a much more relaxed attitude.
It’s not as if the students at Harvard aren’t already highly intelligent... and I’ve heard the same stories about soft grading from all the ivy league schools.
Frankly I’m much more concerned about the fleecing of American students by various state Universities... some of them allow students with barely rudimentary skills entrance as long as they’re out of state students. This way they collect the rather steep out of state tuition, by way of the student loans that pay for it.