<p>Hmm, I could be wrong, but here’s my reaction. On the link fogfog listed, the author cited [Grade</a> inflation gone wild - CSMonitor.com](<a href=“http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2009/0324/p09s02-coop.html]Grade”>Grade inflation gone wild - CSMonitor.com), which says:</p>
<p>At a private college, the average is now 3.3. At some schools, it tops 3.5 and even 3.6. “A” is average at those schools!
At elite Brown University, two-thirds of all letter grades given are now A’s.</p>
<p>First of all, could it be that students do well at elite private schools because they’re … I don’t know, SMART? They got in, after all… The goal of these schools is to accept students who can succeed and thrive there, right?</p>
<p>Second, isn’t Rojstaczer misrepresenting Brown’s grading system with the logical fallacy of biased/suppressed information? In the traditional letter-grading system, a student receives an A, B, C, or No Credit; in the pass-fail system, a student receives an S or NC and is intended to “encourage you to explore subjects outside of your main interests and to promote an interdisciplinary approach to your education” ([Brown</a> Admission: Requirements & Grading](<a href=“Undergraduate Admission | Brown University”>Undergraduate Admission | Brown University)). Excuse me if my logic is flawed, but it seems to me that a student would choose the S/NC system for subjects he/she isn’t as good at (“outside of your main interests”) and the A/B/C system for more important classes, i.e. pre-med classes or concentration requirements. So if this is the case, wouldn’t it make sense–and wouldn’t we hope–that a good deal of the letter grades given are A’s? After all, these are classes being taken by smart people, and they happen to be classes that these smart people are good at (or need to be good at).</p>
<p>All that said, I think these authors were just looking for examples to support their cases without actually considering their causes. If anything, I don’t think this data means Brown and other private schools are “easier.” Rather, in the context of other statistics such as post-college success, it means they enable and cultivate learning better.</p>
<p>Edit: missed your post, mgcsinc, but good points too :)</p>