Yes, it’s a lot easier to get an A these days.
The New York Times blog Economix looks at a new study by grade-inflation researchers Stuart Rojstaczer and Christopher Healy, who have found that the number of A’s given in college has skyrocketed since 1940:
Most recently, about 43 percent of all letter grades given were A’s, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960 and 12 percentage points since 1988. The distribution of B’s has stayed relatively constant; the growing share of A’s instead comes at the expense of a shrinking share of C’s, D’s and F’s. In fact, only about 10 percent of grades awarded are D’s and F’s.
The biggest perps? Private colleges by far.
And why the grade inflation?
(The researchers) attribute the rapid rise in grade inflation in the last couple of decades to a more “consumer-based approach” to education, which they say “has created both external and internal incentives for the faculty to grade more generously.” More generous grading can produce better instructor reviews, for example, and can help students be more competitive candidates for graduate schools and the job market.