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(Newser)   Think you have problems? Harvard is dealing with what appears to be an alarming proliferation of A grades, sparking accusations of grade inflation   (newser.com) divider line 46
    More: Amusing, grade inflation, Harvard, false accusations, nuclear proliferation, Harvard College, Harvard Crimson, academic standards  
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2502 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Dec 2013 at 1:28 PM (33 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



46 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2013-12-04 11:56:51 AM
Maybe we're all just getting smarter?
 
2013-12-04 12:03:13 PM
If you can get into Harvard, you're entitled right?
 
2013-12-04 12:16:50 PM
This has been going on for a long time there.
 
2013-12-04 12:46:01 PM
This is what happens when you only accept the smart people.  If everyone is hitting the top of the scale means your measuring stick isn't long enough.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-12-04 12:55:33 PM
My rule when interviewing: C average, who cares. C cup, you're hired.

But seriously, only the first is true. I'm not supposed to be sleeping with the recent college grad hires anyway.

I don't care what your GPA is because every school is different. What have you studied, what have you learned, what projects have you done? Can you explain how something works? Do you seem like you'll get along with the team? Do you seem likely to learn how to rewrite a set of equations into conjunctive normal form without exponential growth of clauses?

If you've had a real job before, I hardly even care about college.
 
2013-12-04 12:58:01 PM
Doesn't see a problem:

www.nndb.com

Nor does he:

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-12-04 01:29:25 PM

simplicimus: This has been going on for a long time there.


No kidding.
 
2013-12-04 01:30:51 PM
It's only grade inflation when black people get A's. Otherwise it's hard work and gumption.
 
2013-12-04 01:38:21 PM
Lemme guess:  Harvard has had  an alarming proliferation of Asian students?

Get dem outta there.  Dey mess up da grading curve.
 
2013-12-04 01:44:45 PM

hervatski: Maybe we're all just getting smarter?


According to standardized testing, nope.
 
2013-12-04 01:45:41 PM
My daughter at the University of Chicago says their motto is "If I wanted an "A", I would have gone to Harvard."
 
2013-12-04 01:46:34 PM

MyRandomName: hervatski: Maybe we're all just getting smarter?

According to standardized testing, nope.


Well clearly those standardized tests weren't administered by Harvard.
 
2013-12-04 01:46:48 PM
brightest and best. that is why they are the leaders of this country!
 
2013-12-04 01:50:40 PM

DjangoStonereaver: Doesn't see a problem:

[www.nndb.com image 243x307]

Nor does he:

[upload.wikimedia.org image 220x281]


Or this guy:
cache.boston.com
 
2013-12-04 01:53:16 PM
If you have your pick of the most motivated, ambitious and academically gifted students from all over the world you should generally expect them to do well.
 
2013-12-04 01:54:57 PM

Target Builder: If you have your pick of the most motivated, ambitious and academically gifted students from all over the world you should generally expect them to do well.


We're talking Harvard, not a real college like MIT.
 
2013-12-04 01:56:13 PM

Frank N Stein: Or this guy:
img.fark.net



Sure, but if he really a good law student he would have made Law Review.
 
2013-12-04 01:57:18 PM
Um... Duh?

/still, Harvard does look good on a resume.
 
2013-12-04 01:58:10 PM
A non-random sample of above-average students tend to earn above-average grades? Color me shocked.
 
2013-12-04 02:01:06 PM

netringer: Frank N Stein: Or this guy:
[img.fark.net image 410x289]


Sure, but if he really a good law student he would have made Law Review.


Out-of-country students do not get the benefit of grade inflation.
 
2013-12-04 02:03:59 PM
Unless enrollment is growing extremely quickly, we can expect the average student to be better and better with time, since the population is growing, so there are going to be more top students filling those spots in school.

Perhaps this isn't as true at the top, though, since those schools already only take the best of the best (plus some token athletes).


I don't have a problem with Harvard students getting slightly inflated grades.  They face much tougher competition for their grades than State U. students face, and I suspect that nearly all of them would dominate the grade curve at a school ranked between 50 and 100.  If they had the chance to go up against students at schools with even lower ranks, it would be a massacre.

Put the students from the lower-tier schools into Harvard classes, where basic competence is assumed, and you'll see those student flunk out, quickly.
 
2013-12-04 02:05:48 PM
I don't understand why people feel courses should be graded on a curve. If every student learned the material the instructor set out to teach, why should the instructor be forced to give some students failing grades?
 
2013-12-04 02:06:58 PM

ZAZ: My rule when interviewing: C average, who cares. C cup, you're hired.

But seriously, only the first is true. I'm not supposed to be sleeping with the recent college grad hires anyway.

I don't care what your GPA is because every school is different. What have you studied, what have you learned, what projects have you done? Can you explain how something works? Do you seem like you'll get along with the team? Do you seem likely to learn how to rewrite a set of equations into conjunctive normal form without exponential growth of clauses?

If you've had a real job before, I hardly even care about college.


Same here. I have a team of seven; I know they all went to college, but I have no idea (nor care) about their transcripts. I am interested in what engineering projects they worked on, but that usually comes up in the context of the interviews. For the most part, if they completed a degree they've passed the academic threshold and I move on. I'm looking to see what they did for work during and after school; the more hands-on, the better. I don't want people who aren't willing to literally roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty since many of their projects may require just that. I hired one whose academic qualifications were on the low side but who made up for it with his work ethic and the fact that he put himself through school by working 4-7 am every morning loading trucks at a UPS distribution facility. As for where they all went to school, I think I know three of them but only because of sports. One of them went to Florida, which only serves to show what a swell guy I am to let that transgression slide.

It's funny how much angst and handwringing go into something whose significance rapidly drops to zero the day after graduation.
 
2013-12-04 02:14:34 PM

Harvey Manfrenjensenjen: It's funny how much angst and handwringing go into something whose significance rapidly drops to zero the day after graduation.


This varies a LOT by field and becomes even more of an issue if someone ever wants to work in a different country to where they went to university.
 
2013-12-04 02:22:09 PM
Calculus, Biology, and Engineering, Law... they don't change much from book to book.  Hell, even a MBA doesn't.

The only thing a Ivy has over a normal school is access.  Access to leading people in the fields and a deep pool of/to power and rich men.  Classwork?  It's the same (or easier) than a state school.

Grades are inflated, but only because they will pressure out anyone below a 3.0.  At least the ones without powerful parents who can offset the grades with handsome alumni donations.
 
2013-12-04 02:26:28 PM

ZAZ: My rule when interviewing: C average, who cares. C cup, you're hired.

But seriously, only the first is true. I'm not supposed to be sleeping with the recent college grad hires anyway.

I don't care what your GPA is because every school is different. What have you studied, what have you learned, what projects have you done? Can you explain how something works? Do you seem like you'll get along with the team? Do you seem likely to learn how to rewrite a set of equations into conjunctive normal form without exponential growth of clauses?

If you've had a real job before, I hardly even care about college.


Same here. I had a girl here a year ago that kept on bragging about her straight A's at Liberty U. But she was as dumb as a stump and had the attention span of a goldfish. They should have paid me more just to babysit her for the year she was here.
 
2013-12-04 02:47:23 PM
I went to a 'party' school in the Midwest (Go Ball U!), and got my MBA @ a good, but not great grad school. I took a 'charm school' at a consulting firm with newly minted MBA's from Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Northwestern, etc. I found that I was just as smart as they were.  They were all very bright....but they got into better schools (with much higher salaries than I had at the time). So, there's a reason to try hard to get in....you just have to compare the cost with the reward.

(Also - my ex was a Wharton MBA. Very book-smart, but couldn't find their way out of the parking lot without written directions).
 
2013-12-04 03:08:19 PM
CSB: a good friend of mine is an assistant prof there. He was saying that if he gives out a B, for C or lower work (they are college students after all, just getting in means you can foot the tab at the end of the day, not that you're some sort of super genius, in most cases), he gets reamed out twice. By the student for being mean and  the "but I always get A's" song is sung. Secondly by the faculty, because that student's family just installed a solid gold yacht house for the dean, and if their progeny isn't the cleverest SOB, then they'll just take that money and influence to Yale, or even Princeton.

/CSB
// Seriously, college kids are the stupidest things on the face of the planet.
 
2013-12-04 03:33:03 PM
The best and brightest?  After working with some MIT grads I swear that MIT means:  Moron in training.
 
2013-12-04 03:44:42 PM

firemanbuck: My daughter at the University of Chicago says their motto is "If I wanted an "A", I would have gone to Harvard."


My step-daughter went there and she said the motto was, "University of Chicago, where fun goes to die".
 
2013-12-04 03:46:23 PM

travoltron: CSB: a good friend of mine is an assistant prof there. He was saying that if he gives out a B, for C or lower work (they are college students after all, just getting in means you can foot the tab at the end of the day, not that you're some sort of super genius, in most cases), he gets reamed out twice. By the student for being mean and  the "but I always get A's" song is sung. Secondly by the faculty, because that student's family just installed a solid gold yacht house for the dean, and if their progeny isn't the cleverest SOB, then they'll just take that money and influence to Yale, or even Princeton.

/CSB
// Seriously, college kids are the stupidest things on the face of the planet.


CSB:

My class only had "cum laude."  No summa or magna.  Just "with honors" upon graduation.  I was one of 12 that got honors.  UMaine civil engineering degree.  Their curriculum back in the day was a BIATCH.

/their math and EE departments were worse
//end CSB
///go Black Bears!!
 
2013-12-04 03:54:38 PM
Yeah, my father is a professor of economics, and he gives all his students an A-grade if they do enough work.  He offers infinite extra-credit in the form of writing up case studies.  He says he doesn't want to hurt his students careers by giving them anything less.

It used to bother me, but I realized that a single professor can't do anything to alter grade inflation by himself/herself anyway.  It would just screw over the students who chose that professor's class over a class for the same course by another professor.
 
2013-12-04 03:57:19 PM
I'm a Clarkson University product. I learned the following things:
1) more beer is always better. always.
2) there is a group of males who think it's 1986 still. Polo shirts with the collars turned up to 11. In 2006. Pretty sure they're pretty fabulous.
3) grades really don't matter, nor does college of choice or graduation status. Anyone with a pulse and eyes can tell a moron in an interview. 9 times out of 10, they hire the person who can figure it out, instead of the shaved ape with straight A's.
 
2013-12-04 03:57:44 PM

zimbomba63: firemanbuck: My daughter at the University of Chicago says their motto is "If I wanted an "A", I would have gone to Harvard."

My step-daughter went there and she said the motto was, "University of Chicago, where fun goes to die".


There's that one too.... neither is mutually exclusive of the other.
 
2013-12-04 04:03:16 PM

HighZoolander: MyRandomName: hervatski: Maybe we're all just getting smarter?

According to standardized testing, nope.

Well clearly those standardized tests weren't administered by Harvard.


People have been getting steadily smarter for a century. It's called the Flynn effect.
 
2013-12-04 04:14:09 PM

Tigger: HighZoolander: MyRandomName: hervatski: Maybe we're all just getting smarter?

According to standardized testing, nope.

Well clearly those standardized tests weren't administered by Harvard.

People have been getting steadily smarter for a century. It's called the Flynn effect.


Only if you think IQ is a measure of intelligence.  Which you shouldn't.  It isn't.
 
2013-12-04 04:24:22 PM
But wait... If you get accepted into Harvard and then flunk out, the school failed...

They either didn't have a good process to weed you out before you got in because you can't *handle* the material, or they can't *teach* the material and failed you after you came to Harvard.

I'm surprised not *all* of their students are straight A students. -That says something about the quality of an education at Harvard for sure.
 
2013-12-04 04:31:10 PM

Tigger: HighZoolander: MyRandomName: hervatski: Maybe we're all just getting smarter?

According to standardized testing, nope.

Well clearly those standardized tests weren't administered by Harvard.

People have been getting steadily smarter for a century. It's called the Flynn effect.


Right, that is, until they open their mouths and you realize they're dumb as the day is long.  Recent article, people are becoming better at taking these types of tests, as opposed to becoming any smarter.  For example, ACT/SAT prep courses don't make you any smarter, but, you learn how to optimize your performance on the test.  As more and more individuals have been exposed to standardized testing, they have learned how to "game" these tests.
 
2013-12-04 05:06:30 PM
traveltron - // Seriously, college kids are the stupidest things on the face of the planet.

I am so glad someone else realizes this. Of course, they get 'A's... you don't piss off the clients after all. I just spent 6 years making a bunch of idiotic college grads look good to their clients and got fired for daring to actually pointing this out to the boss, who is also one of them. So, they earn lots of money and continue to ruin almost everything they touch and I get to slowly lose everything and starve to death because I don't have a $65,000 piece of paper.

/plus I am 50... so there is no hope here...
 
2013-12-04 05:29:41 PM

NetOwl: Unless enrollment is growing extremely quickly, we can expect the average student to be better and better with time, since the population is growing, so there are going to be more top students filling those spots in school.

Perhaps this isn't as true at the top, though, since those schools already only take the best of the best (plus some token athletes).


I don't have a problem with Harvard students getting slightly inflated grades.  They face much tougher competition for their grades than State U. students face, and I suspect that nearly all of them would dominate the grade curve at a school ranked between 50 and 100.  If they had the chance to go up against students at schools with even lower ranks, it would be a massacre.

Put the students from the lower-tier schools into Harvard classes, where basic competence is assumed, and you'll see those student flunk out, quickly.


Man that PR of theirs sure does work.

I think my cousin, a Harvard grad, put it well.   "Harvard has the same courses every State college does, but your diploma still says Harvard on it."

Harvard has a few courses of study where they are outstanding, Government affairs being a prime example.   In their other courses of study, they are average at best.   A Harvard microbiologist will be no better than an Ohio State microbiologist and both will likely be deficient compared with a University of North Texas microbiologist WHEN THEY FIRST GRADUATE!  That's a function of the intellectual rigor of the coursework.  As one writer below mentioned, after they have worked for a few years, it's the work experience and what they've learned from it, not where they got their degree.
 
2013-12-04 06:23:42 PM

NetOwl: Unless enrollment is growing extremely quickly, we can expect the average student to be better and better with time, since the population is growing, so there are going to be more top students filling those spots in school.

Perhaps this isn't as true at the top, though, since those schools already only take the best of the best (plus some token athletes).


I don't have a problem with Harvard students getting slightly inflated grades.  They face much tougher competition for their grades than State U. students face, and I suspect that nearly all of them would dominate the grade curve at a school ranked between 50 and 100.  If they had the chance to go up against students at schools with even lower ranks, it would be a massacre.

Put the students from the lower-tier schools into Harvard classes, where basic competence is assumed, and you'll see those student flunk out, quickly.


I guessing you missed that recent kerfuffle where the two Harvard profs published a paper, and failed at basic math, despite using Excel.  They were of course schooled by a ... UMass grad student :)
 
2013-12-04 06:24:28 PM

travoltron: CSB: a good friend of mine is an assistant prof there. He was saying that if he gives out a B, for C or lower work (they are college students after all, just getting in means you can foot the tab at the end of the day, not that you're some sort of super genius, in most cases), he gets reamed out twice. By the student for being mean and  the "but I always get A's" song is sung. Secondly by the faculty, because that student's family just installed a solid gold yacht house for the dean, and if their progeny isn't the cleverest SOB, then they'll just take that money and influence to Yale, or even Princeton.

/CSB
// Seriously, college kids are the stupidest things on the face of the planet.


Buddy of mine taught at Brown about 15 years ago.  Same deal.
 
2013-12-04 06:30:38 PM

Enigmamf: I don't understand why people feel courses should be graded on a curve. If every student learned the material the instructor set out to teach, why should the instructor be forced to give some students failing grades?


Have to wonder if Harvard also uses NCLB-style mandatory grade average improvements to 'evaluate' professors?
 
2013-12-04 06:35:45 PM
In Australia the international students are the cashcow - so you have 2 "streams" as it were. The domestic students are graded normally and pass or fail based on their performance, whereas the international students are pretty much passed enmasse.

Even if they hand in an essay which is complete gibberish (and I have been handed such essays to proof read) they get this cute thing called a "conceded pass" which means they can continue with the course and graduate.

Cept later on, if they need to join a proffessional society or immigrate they will find all those conceded passes don't count and need to be redone.
 
2013-12-04 10:53:22 PM

Enigmamf: I don't understand why people feel courses should be graded on a curve. If every student learned the material the instructor set out to teach, why should the instructor be forced to give some students failing grades?


Of the universities we've been affiliated with, the departments (math and physics in our cases) suggest a template for assigning grades (e.g., x% get A's, y% get B's).  However,

a) It's only a suggestion (e.g., you can assign MORE A's than that if you want); and
b) there is NEVER a suggested value for D's or F's.  No prof is ever forced to fail someone (unless he's broken the honor code).

It's the departments' attempt to "standardized" grades between different profs, and to prevent grade inflation.
 
2013-12-04 10:55:59 PM
Harvey Manfrenjensenjen:

It's funny how much angst and handwringing go into something whose significance rapidly drops to zero the day after graduation.

If the student plans on going to grad school, it matters a lot where he went as an undergrad.  To this day, I regret having gone to a state school (where I got a full ride scholarship) instead of a more prestigious uni.
 
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