But I have to admit even I hadn't heard of the surge in grade inflation to match the price inflation that colleges are charging. If anyone less credible than Walter Williams had said this (to be fair, most of the human race is less credible than Walter), I might not be so fast to assume it's truth. Regrettably, this is an old argument, which burns me all the more for not being informed about it. Williams, 2009, quotes a study by Professor Thomas C. Reeves, writing for the National Association of Scholars who documents something no less than academic fraud in his article "The Happy Classroom: Grade Inflation Works."
From 1991 to 2007, in public institutions, the average grade point average (GPA) rose, on a four-point scale, from 2.93 to 3.11. In private schools, the average GPA climbed from 3.09 to 3.30. Put within a historical perspective, in the 1930s, the average GPA was 2.35 (about a C-plus); whereby now it's a B-plus.In 1960, about 15% of all letter grades given in colleges were As. Today, that number is 43%. At some schools, the As alone outnumber Ds and Fs combined by 4:1. To some degree, we expect Ds and Fs to be a low number in colleges because they used to (historically) get you put on academic probation and then kicked out of school, but the increase in percentage of As can't be accounted for that way. It seems that the Ivy League schools are particularly subject to this:
At Brown University, two-thirds of all letter grades given are A's. At Harvard, 50 percent of all grades were either A or A- (up from 22 percent in 1966); 91 percent of seniors graduated with honors. ... Fifty percent of students at Columbia University are on the Dean's list. At Stanford University, where F grades used to be banned, only 6 percent of student grades were as low as a C.91% of Harvard students were Honors Graduates? How much of an honor is it to be in the top 91% of your class? That's making "Honors Graduate" into a participation trophy! In my day, it took being in the top 5% of GPAs in the graduating class - which never seemed to work out to 90% of the graduates (or more than 5 or 10%). The Dean's list at Columbia has 50% of the college's students? How can that be a Dean's list? That's the equivalent of having every student on campus flip a coin: head's you're on, tails you're off! First rule of the Progressives: redefine the words.
How do you explain this? Walter Williams says it's pure and simple academic fraud. He contributes:
Some college administrators will tell us that the higher grades merely reflect higher-quality students. Balderdash! SAT scores have been in decline for four decades and at least a third of entering freshmen must enroll in a remedial course either in math, writing or reading, which indicates academic fraud at the high school level. A recent survey of more than 30,000 first-year students revealed that nearly half spent more hours drinking than study. Another survey found that a third of students expected B's just for attending class, and 40 percent said they deserved a B for completing the assigned reading.Stu Burguiere of the Blaze and the Glen Beck program contributes an interesting perspective in this 5 minute video. College is an unusual industry in that you pay for the product, often over many years, but somewhere along the way, they tell you how good they were in teaching your children. If they get As, Mom and Dad feel better about the purchase. And the student is more likely to join the alumni association and donate money to the school. How much is that needed? Depends on the school. A couple of years ago, I wrote:
Today's fun fact: Harvard has an endowment worth $32 billion. If they paid all 6700 undergraduates' tuition, fees and books, it would cost 1/1000 of that - $32 million. That endowment grew over 21% last year ($6.72 billion). Based simply on that, they could pay all undergrad fees forever, without endangering a single new building. [Note: The $6.72 billion growth isn't in the original, I just added that - SiG]While the Ivy League schools may not need this self-perpetuating system of artificially high grades, the smaller state and private schools surely will.
In other words, for all the anti-capitalistic crap they indoctrinate students with, they sure do know how to manipulate incentives to get more capital.
Dilbert, of course)
The practical side of this is that it has been going on for quite a while, and companies trying to hire only the best new grads are continually refining their search methods. For you and I, it may mean trying to hire older physicians - or at least being wary of younger, unproven ones. The problem with that is that all the older ones are approaching retirement, too.
Sidenote: the cold that has knocked me flat for the last few days appears to be a bacterial bronchitis. Saw my (older) allergist yesterday and got pumped full of steroids and antibiotics. The fever is broken, but coughing still hurts. At least the gurgling experience has eased up while trying to sleep. And my hearty congratulations to the folks at Robitussin. I never thought they could come up with a way to make that stuff taste more vile, but they have. They changed it from a thin syrup you could knock back like a shot of vodka and follow with water to wash the taste away over to consistency more like molasses which is much harder to slug down.