Baruch College Has Initiated A Draconian Policy To Fight Grade Inflation

grading curve public private decades

Photo: Stuart Rojstaczer and Christopher Healy

grades as function of time

Photo: Stuart Rojstaczer and Christopher Healy

Teachers in the accounting department of Baruch College who give too many A’s “automatically and permanently become disqualified to be rehired by the department,” reports Gizelle Lugo for The Ticker.Professor Jimmy Ye, chair of the Stan Ross Department of Accountancy, said in an email that the school was at risk of losing its accreditation for having too many students and too few professors. He blamed this situation on grade inflation, stating that it helps keep the weak students in the accounting program, stretches the department’s resources, and lowers the department’s CPA passing rate.

However, grade inflation is nothing new as shown in the charts on the right and the number of A’s given has been increasing at both public and private schools since 1940. 

Stuart Rojstaczer and Christopher Healy, authors of “Where A Is Ordinary,” that grade inflation can make students complacent and not study as hard. “When college students perceive that the average grade in a class will be an A, they do not try to excel,” they write.  

Their report attributed the increase in grade inflation to “consumer-based approach” to education, writes Catherine Rampell for The New York Times. Faculty feels that by grading more generously, they can receive favourable reviews as well as make students more competitive candidates for graduate schools and jobs. However, that makes it harder for employers to determine who is excellent, good and mediocre student.

The reaction among Baruch students seems to be mixed, with some agreeing that the policy will help weed out weak students not suited for accounting early on, while others are concerned that their efforts might be unfairly evaluated.  “If I get a 96, I want the A I deserve, instead of settling for the B because 20% of the students got a 97,” Shamima Akter, a Baruch student, told Lugo. 

As for school’s resources, students feel the department should hire more faculty members if it is stretched thin. According to YNN’s Zack Funk, the New York state budget for the upcoming year includes increased funding for CUNY and State University of New York

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