The fraction of A-range grades in the fall 2011 through spring 2014 three-year period increased to 43 percent from 40 percent in fall 2008 through spring 2011, the Faculty Committee on Grading announced at the first faculty meeting of the academic year on Monday.
The 43 percent of A-range grades in the most recent three-year period is still lower than the 47 percent of A-range grades reported in 2001-04, the period right before the current grade deflation policy was enacted.
These data were released in light of a separate grade deflation policy report that was released in August. In the report, a special committee concluded that A-range grades decreased most dramatically in the 2003-05 period, the two years before the current grading policy was implemented, and increased gradually thereafter.
This committee also recommended that the current grading policy be replaced with a policy that does not use numerical quotas for giving grades and emphasizes meaningful feedback to students.
The current policy was adopted in April 2004 by the faculty and created an across-the-board standard that all departments and programs should give out less than 35 percent of grades in the A-range in undergraduate courses and less than 55 percent for upperclassmen independent work.
According to a memo presented at the meeting on Monday regarding the grading results, A-grades given in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering and certificate programs all increased in the 2011-14 period.
The largest increase was in the humanities, at approximately 4.5 percent, from roughly 43 percent to 48.5 percent.
Comparing the newly released results to the grades from 10 years ago, the greatest drops in A-grades are in the engineering and humanities departments. The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences gave about 50 percent A-range grades in the 2001-04 period, which decreased significantly to about 40 percent A-range grades in the 2008-11 period and rose slightly to approximately 42 percent in the most recent period.
Some departments gave out a slightly higher fraction of A-range grades than they did before the grading policy was enacted. The natural sciences and certificate programs reported 38 and 48 percent A-range grades, respectively, an increase of less than one percent as compared to the 2001-04 period.
The department with the lowest percentage of A-range grades is the natural sciences, and the department with the highest is the humanities, according to the graph distributed at the meeting.
The report is currently being reviewed by the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing and may come to a faculty vote as early as October, according to University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83.
The meeting was held in the Faculty Room of Nassau Hall at 4:30 pm.
Staff Writer Anna Windemuth contributed reporting