Most Common Grade in US Colleges: A
'Consumer-based' education to blame for loosening standards, says report
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2011 6:06 AM CDT
Grade inflation has gotten so bad that 43% of all university and college grades today are A's, according to a new study.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A is for "average," especially at American colleges and universities today—a stunning 43% of all grades in the United States are now A's, according to a new report on grade inflation. That's up from just 15% in 1960 and 31% as recently as 1988, notes the Economix blog at the New York Times. At the same time, the number of bad grades have plummeted, with C's going from 35% in 1960 to just 15% today; D's have dropped from about 11% to 5%.

Private universities are the worst offenders, with A's and B's accounting for 86% of all their grades (as of 2007, the most recent year available); at public schools, A's and B's make up "just" 73% of all grades. The authors of the original study (you can read an abstract here), blame today's “consumer-based approach” to education, saying it “has created both external and internal incentives for the faculty to grade more generously.”

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Most Common Grade in US Colleges: A is...
7%
7%
9%
62%
5%
10%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 12 comments
carbonatedturtle
Jul 18, 2011 2:44 PM CDT
Michelle Bachman was able to "earn" a University degree. 'Nuff said.
DELKR
Jul 15, 2011 3:00 PM CDT
As a now former adjunct prof - things have changed over 30 years. My class was a lot of memory work, thus it should have been easy for 3rd year college students. Also in the last 5 years the manner of presentation was much better. Blackboard software; Power point, Ipods, greater flexibility for the students than "lecture to chalkboard" Finally the same school cost me $500 per quarter in 1970; They pay $3000. per quarter. They better work at "A" level. Competition for admission is 100 openings each year; 500 applicants. You need to admit only the best based on grade (legacies do not count for much any more) Point is, I felt that 40% A grade was expected; with the rest being B+. "C" was really a failing score. We do not give "D" grades. I guess that is the reason for "A+".
Cat-Lover
Jul 15, 2011 8:14 AM CDT
When you look for a job, you want to earn the highest pay. When you look for a school, you want to earn the highest grade. It's a competitive world out there.