Fighting Grade Inflation

Rick Perry has an interesting post on a Texas proposal to require that college transcripts show, along with the student's grade in each class, the average grade in the class.

I think this is an excellent idea -- simple and effective -- though I am not big on a state mandate on private institutions but this is totally reasonable for public institutions and would likely force private colleges to follow suit voluntarily.

To the extent that colleges squeal about this, it will be entirely hypocritical.  Why?  Because colleges will not seriously consider the grades on a high school transcript in their admission process without a guide from the school listing such things as average grades.   Colleges demand exactly this type of benchmark for grades, without which a transcript would be almost meaningless.  They should not balk at providing the same.


  1. Maximum Liberty:

    Wouldn't it be better to give some sense of the range? E.g., the 25th and 75th percentiles; or one standard deviation above and below the mean?

  2. Scott from Ohio:

    I think you've mixed up your Perry's... That's Mark, not Rick.

  3. David Zetland:

    Better yet, put all students on the same curve (either in class or when a "standardized" transcript is submitted outside the school). That would do a lot to fix instructor and school heterogeneity.

  4. wintercow20:

    My university has shown little interest in this even as some students have proposed it. In my letters for students I indicate precisely this information and also reference the grading in our department relative to what I saw in other schools as well as other departments here. As you well know, formalizing a program like this would be received as threatening from many departments. For example, a department at my university had something like 16 of its 19 graduates last year receive "highest honors" at graduation. In my department with 200 graduates, I think we awarded 15 to 20 total.

  5. David:

    I'd like to see the median *and* mean scores reported, but I'd also like a pony.

  6. MingoV:

    My daughter attends the University of Delaware. Its average GPA is over 3.0. Over one-third of students make the Dean's list that requires only a 3.5 GPA and no "C" grades. The average student takes 14 credit hours per semester. Standard tuition pays for 12-17 credit hours instead of 13-18. It's no surprise that many students take more than four years to get a bachelor's degree.