Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sweet Sixteen of Tough Graders

"A" The Hard Way, 2010:'s Sweet Sixteen of Tough Graders:

Grade Inflation 
March Madness is upon us. Last year at this time, came up with a Sweet Sixteen of grade inflaters. As the graph above shows, grade inflation is pervasive in academia. It's present at almost every school that's part of a major athletic conference.

We could have made a new Sweet Sixteen of inflaters this year. ...  We thought it would be much better to look at the other end of the spectrum: the schools that defy the trend of the easy A. These are rare schools, but if you look long and hard, you can find them.


  1. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  2. Princeton University
  3. Boston University
  4. MIT


  1. Virginia Commonwealth University
  2. Hampden-Sydney College
  3. Roanoke College
  4. Auburn University


  1. Purdue University
  2. University of Houston
  3. Southern Polytechnic State
  4. Florida International University


  1. Reed College
  2. CSU-Fullerton
  3. Harvey Mudd College
  4. Simon Fraser University
(Hat Tip: Inside Higher Ed.)

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Did any of the commenters bother to read the article? The 16 schools listed are statistically some of the schools where is it most difficult to obtain the "easy A"

Posted by: J | Mar 24, 2010 8:13:11 AM

this is inherently flawed because there is no way to determine whether the A's earned were, in fact, "easy", or if the student body simply works harder and smarter at certain institutions. it presupposes a bell curve (or similar distribution) of grades.

on a side note, VMI has a straight C curve. doesn't that make it much harder to get an A there than anywhere else?

Posted by: ryan | Mar 24, 2010 6:23:12 AM

Of which "major athletic conference" is Reed a member? As the proud mom of a Reed grad, I never saw any sign of organized athletics of any kind, and my daughter confirms that the only sport Reed plays against other schools is rugby, which surely doesn't qualify as a "major athletic conference." Reed has no football or basketball or baseball teams and most certainly has no sports stadium. Perhaps someone was joking?

Posted by: Malcolm | Mar 23, 2010 5:54:10 PM

What about Davidson College? I would think that would be the definition of schools that don't understand the phrase "easy A."

Posted by: MJP1221 | Mar 23, 2010 2:49:00 PM