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.”

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Jul 18, 2011 2:44 PM CDT
Michelle Bachman was able to "earn" a University degree. 'Nuff said.
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+".
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.