Grade inflation has been an issue for some time at American universities. One of The College Fix’s earliest articles reported that 43 percent of all college grades were As, while Ds and Fs were “few and far between.”
And it’s not just higher ed; one study showed that in 1966 just 19 percent of college students had an A or A-minus GPA in high school, while 40 years later that figure jumped to almost 50 percent.
But Yale junior Brian Zhang in Business Insider says this is a “good thing” — students aren’t as stressed, and colleges are taking mental health concerns seriously:
It occasionally dawns on me how hard I worked throughout high school, where my schedule consisted of nine back-to-back classes. College inflation metrics partially exist to encourage students to prioritize mental health and think critically about the type of person they want to become outside the classroom. For that, I’m thankful. …
I learn just as much from friends and what their professors are teaching as I do from my classes, simply from being in the same spaces as them. Biochemistry, philosophical metaphors, and Spanish phrases seep into conversations in between the aisles at Costco or as we hurry back to our dorms on a rainy day. Less concerned about getting high grades, we make sharing what we learn the foundation of our connections.
Zhang (pictured), who studies ecology and evolutionary biology and is a prolific writer, speaks favorably of taking courses “pass-fail” and those whose professors use large grade curves.
He notes half of his 200-person freshman biology class got As and A-minuses due to the grading curve, and other large lecture courses followed suit.
“I guess I finally understand what my parents meant when they said they wanted me in a place where I would be taken care of,” Zhang concludes. “The reality is that Yale’s grade inflation does just that.”
IMAGES: PixelFractor/Shutterstock.com; Brian Zhang/Linkedin