Yale median GPA is 3.6, study finds
While Princeton students continue to spar with administrators over the two-year-old grade deflation policy, Yale's student newspaper released a poll last week suggesting that the median GPA at the New Haven rival lies between 3.6 and 3.7.
The unscientific survey, sent to 400 randomly selected members of the Class of 2006, garnered 201 responses. Beside a median GPA in the "A-" range, the results indicated that fewer than five percent of respondents earned a GPA below 3.0, the Yale Daily News (YDN) reported.
Whereas Princeton and Harvard have periodically released grade distributions, Yale has not provided such data since 1981.
The median GPA for Princeton's Class of 2006 was between 3.2 and 3.3, according to an unscientific survey conducted by The Daily Princetonian last year. The average GPA for that class was 3.52. Median and average figures for all undergraduates were largely similar.
The poll results show that despite Dean of the College Nancy Malkiel's oft-stated goal that peer institutions would adopt their own grade deflation measures, students at other top colleges around the country continue to enjoy higher GPAs.
"No one ever said that other schools would definitely follow suit," Malkiel said in an email. "We hope they will. We know that it's now more difficult for our peer institutions to argue that you can't do anything about grade inflation."
Malkiel, who spearheaded the grade deflation initiative here, said she has met with other Ivy League deans and discussed grading policies with them.
"My colleagues at the other Ivies are at various stages of thinking about grading on their own campuses," she said. "I hope some of them will decide to take their own measures to deal with grade inflation.
In the YDN article, Yale College dean Peter Salovey said that grades should ultimately be left to the discretion of professors, because the faculty member "understands best what constitutes A or B-level work."
Though university-wide discussions were encouraged, Salovey added, top-down regulations — such as those instituted at Princeton — were not.
Salovey declined to comment for this article.
Malkiel, who produced a survey this year showing that Princeton seniors were not being hurt in their job search because of the new grading policy, remained adamant that qualified individuals are not barred from an A-range grade because of the current grading policy.
"As I've said any number of times, under no circumstances does the grading policy suggest that any member of the faculty should fail to give an A to a student who deserves it," she said.
"Over time, on average, across the university, in the neighborhood of 35 percent of our students are going to be doing coursework of the highest quality, and 55 percent are going to be doing independent work of the highest quality."
Some students, however, questioned whether the deflation policy ultimately benefits Princeton.
"Princeton stands to lose more students to her competitors if our published GPA is much lower than other Ivies," Bryan Bunch '09 said. "Who wouldn't choose the school with a higher median GPA in comparable-prestige ceteris paribus?"