Data Shows Rising Trend for Grades
When freshman Sharmistha Rudra chose her courses this semester, she aimed for balance.I have only had three full semesters at Duke, so I can't judge how far I am contributing to this problem. What I would say is that the quality of the work that comes in for the courses I teach (Introduction New Testament; Historical Jesus; Life and Letters of Paul) is remarkably high. Duke students are very bright and highly motivated. In other words, it's a nice problem to have. One amusing, or perhaps disturbing feature in the article above is to see a student choosing courses on the basis of ratemyprofessor.com, and on the basis of the alleged easiness of the courses in question.
To even out the heavy workload of her biochemistry and physics classes, she looked for a couple of "easy" humanities courses, deciding on a "Water and Conflict" seminar because it carried the lightest workload, according to www.ratemyprofessor.com.
Rudra's instinct that the University's liberal arts classes give out higher grades was not unfounded, according to data from the Office of the University Registrar.
And some evidence indicates that there has been consistent grade inflation in recent years. Latin honors, awarded to the top 25 percent of each graduating class, have had steadily increasing GPA cutoffs since the Class of 2001, the last year data was publicly available.
Summa cum laude, honoring the top five percent of the class, had a GPA cutoff for Trinity College graduates of 3.868 for the Class of 2005, but rose to 3.894 for the Class of 2007. The summa cum laude GPA cutoff for Pratt School of Engineering graduates rose from 3.905 to 3.950 over the same time period . . .