The Ivy Coach Daily

January 20, 2020

Grade Inflation at Princeton

It’s oh so difficult to get into Princeton, but it’s easy to do well there once admitted (photo credit: Alfred Hutter).

Back in 2014, we wrote about how Princeton University ended a grade deflation policy that — by vote of the faculty — went into effect in the mid-2000’s and ran through 2014. The policy, as you likely conjecture, was aimed to lower overall grades assigned to students by their Princeton professors. So now fast-forward six years later and what kind of grades are given out by Princeton’s faculty these days?

Grade Inflation at Princeton is Alive and Well

Liam O’Connor, who we can’t help but notice is one of the most thoroughly researched student journalists we’ve ever come across, wrote an opinion piece recently for The Daily Princetonian entitled “The decline and fall of grade deflation” that we just had to share with our readers. After obtaining restricted access to records from Princeton University’s Office of the Dean of the College — records that contained 120,000 grades awarded over the last three academic years — O’Connor concludes “The data are definitive: it’s never been easier to get an A at Princeton.” So just as grade inflation is a thing at Harvard University, it’s absolutely a think at Princeton, too. As we’ve long said: it’s so very difficult to get into schools like Harvard and Princeton, but it’s so easy to do well there!

Most Students at Princeton Receive A’s

As O’Connor writes in his extraordinarily well researched piece (Ivy Coach’s famous crystal ball hereby goes on record predicting a Pulitzer Prize in this young man’s future), “A- was the median grade in the 2018-2019 academic year. 55 percent of course grades were in the A-range. In 1998, they were 43 percent of course grades, according to a faculty report I acquired from Mudd Manuscript Library. B-range grades comprised 34 percent, and the C-range comprised six percent. D’s were merely half a percent. A Princetonian’s chance of getting a F was one in a thousand. The remaining four percent went to ’passes.’”

So, yes, grade inflation is alive and well at Princeton where during the 2018-2019 academic year, as O’Connor reports, 55% of students were awarded a grade in the A-range, 34% in the B-range, and 6% in the C-range. Do check out O’Connor’s overview of just how alive grade inflation is at the #1 ranked school in US News & World Report — his research is truly phenomenal. And it’s not the first time we’ve noticed.

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