“The median grade in Harvard College is indeed an A-,” the school’s dean of education said today, according to the student newspaper. Even more stunning: “The most frequently awarded grade in Harvard College is actually a straight A.”
That ought to dispel any notion that Harvard is tough on its students. Grade inflation may be a victimless crime, but what is the point of having a range of grades if half of them are A- or higher?
Accusations of grade inflation flare up frequently at Harvard and other college campuses. Harvard, in particular, has been accused of grading more softly than some of its rivals in the Ivy League.
Larry Summers, the former US Treasury secretary, was highly critical of the practice while he was president of the university. After he stepped down, he told an interviewer: “Ninety percent of Harvard graduates graduated with honors when I started. The most unique honor you could graduate with was none.”
This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic sister site.
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Roberto A. Ferdman is a reporter at Quartz, where he focuses on Latin American business and economics.