Grade Inflation at Yale
If you’re wondering if it’s difficult to succeed as a student at Yale, know that 92% of the faculty of the university believe there is grade inflation. In fact, 62% of the faculty asserted that it’s too easy to get an A. A mere 30% of the Yale faculty believe that while grade inflation exists at the university, it’s not “excessive.” And 3% believe there is absolutely no grade inflation. This is all according to a study conducted by the Yale student newspaper, “The Yale Daily News,” which sent out surveys to faculty members in 53 departments. 314 members of the faculty completed the survey, as reports Rachel Treisman and David Yaffe-Bellany in a piece entitled “Grade inflation abounds, faculty say.”
It’s Hard to Get Into Yale But Easy to Stay In
We’ve previously reported on grade inflation at Harvard, which has been a trend at the university for as long as we can remember. As we’ve told many of our students and parents over the years who worry that they’ll be stressed out about going to school with so many of our world’s brightest and most ambitious young people, fear not. The line we like to say is, “It’s hard to get in. It’s easy to stay in.” And the survey conducted by “The Yale Daily News” confirms our mantra. As Treisman and Yaffe-Bellany write, “Because Yale does not release GPA data, it can be difficult to quantify grade inflation at the University. But the cum laude cutoff for last year’s graduating class was 3.80, meaning that 30 percent of students graduated with an average well above A-.” That’s quite a large chunk of students with a GPA of 3.80 or higher!
Will Yale Try to Reverse Grade Inflation?
Our intuition is that Yale won’t do anything in the near-term to address grade inflation and we take no issue with such a lack of action by the university. What’s the problem with issuing high grades to many students? The value of an education from a highly selective university like Yale isn’t reflected in grades or a student’s GPA. It’s reflected in the body of learning. It’s reflected in the relationships students forge with other students, peers who challenge their world views and deeply held convictions. Why pit these same students against one other? If a student didn’t want to take an introductory economics class because she’s not good at math and it would adversely impact her GPA, then she’d never learn about economics at Yale. And that would be a real shame because she should be able to learn about economics from some of our nation’s most prominent economists!
Some years ago, in 2013, the Committee on Grading recommended a few reforms to Yale’s grading system. As Treisman and Yaffe-Bellany write, “The committee’s central proposal was to switch from an A-to-F system to a numerical one in which students would receive point scores from 0 to 100. But the committee abandoned that proposal at a contentious faculty meeting, as students protested outside arguing that the new system would cause too much stress.” We’re glad to see that the voices of these students were heard. If you ask us, why add unnecessary stress to the college experience at Yale? To what end?
Or do you beg to differ? Do you believe that everyone at Yale should not be a winner, that many more students should receive lower grades, that so many students should not graduate with cum laude honors? If so, let us know your thoughts by posting a Comment below. Oh, and also, let us know why you care and what difference grade inflation at Yale makes to you (e.g., you’re a medical school applicant who will be competing against Yale undergraduates for med school admission).
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Certainly giving everyone an A cheapens the feat of getting one and doesn’t do anything to repair the study habits of those who deserve lower grades. How can anyone look at a “cum laude” without thinking of the asterisk missing from it?