A new report recently revealed that Yale University is apparently handing about grades in the A-range like they are candy. An estimated 78.97% of all the grades given to undergraduates at the prestigious university fell within the A-range.
The surprising development has left both students and faculty alarmed that high grades appear to have lost their value, according to the New York Times. Shelly Kagan, a philosophy professor, said: “When we act as though virtually everything that gets turned in is some kind of A — where A is supposedly meaning ‘excellent work’ — we are simply being dishonest to our students.”
The grade report was put together by economics professor Ray Fair, who noted that the increase in grades started during the COVID-19 pandemic. And it has continued to rise since then, with students averaging a 3.70 GPA, up from 3.60 in 2013-2014. The details of the study were first shared with the Yale Daily News.
Fair told the Daily News: “Some thought [the COVID effect] would be temporary, but it has more or less persisted. [It’s] probably the faculty going easier on students because COVID was a pain.”
“The report simply documents the history of grading at Yale … It gives the ‘current state of grading’ and I think the numbers are straightforward to interpret.”
Fox News Digital reported that one Yale student, Gustavo Toledo, who is studying political science and intends to pursue law school, suggested the sudden inflation of grades across campus could over-saturate the job market, making it more difficult for high-performing students to stand out among their peers.
“If Yale and other Ivy League institutions start getting these reputations for grade inflation, students who were already feeling pressured to get these high G.P.A.s will then feel that their work is sort of devalued,” Toledo said. “This obviously doesn’t help.”
The report also noted that the A’s given to students depended on the class. A total of 52.39% of students enrolled in economics courses received an A, whereas a staggering 92.37% of students received an A in History of Science and Medicine and Public Health courses.
The Times noted that Yale is not the only school giving easy A’s to its students. A report provided in October from Harvard University’s Undergraduate Office revealed that 79% of grades given during the 2020-2021 school year fell within the A-range. This comes after Claudine Gay, president of Harvard, appeared before Congress to give account for the sudden uptick in anti-Semitism on campus.
As with Yale, there were dramatic differences between A’s given in engineering and science courses versus humanities courses. The Harvard Crimson reported: “The proportion of A-range grades given in the 2020-21 academic year varied significantly by division: 73 percent in the Arts and Humanities, 65 percent in both the Sciences and Social Sciences, and 60 percent in courses at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.”
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