July 15, 2011

Campus news

From City Journal:
Less Academics, More Narcissism 
The University of California is cutting back on many things, but not useless diversity programs.
by Heather Mac Donald 
California’s budget crisis has reduced the University of California to near-penury, claim its spokesmen. “Our campuses and the UC Office of the President already have cut to the bone,” the university system’s vice president for budget and capital resources warned earlier this month, in advance of this week’s meeting of the university’s regents. Well, not exactly to the bone. Even as UC campuses jettison entire degree programs and lose faculty to competing universities, one fiefdom has remained virtually sacrosanct: the diversity machine. 
Not only have diversity sinecures been protected from budget cuts, their numbers are actually growing. The University of California at San Diego, for example, is creating a new full-time “vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This position would augment UC San Diego’s already massive diversity apparatus, which includes the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center. 
It’s not surprising that the new vice chancellor’s mission is rather opaque, given its superfluity. 

This expansion in the Diversity budget at UCSD follows that campus's 2010 noose hoax.

In other campus news, everybody in college (especially private colleges) gets As or Bs. The D is almost extinct and the C is endangered.
My question is: Does grade inflation really matter? Who wins and who loses from grade inflation?

It appears that A- is the new B, B+ is the new C, and B is the new D. That wouldn't seem like much of a problem, at least if everybody had gotten the memo. 

Perhaps the losers are parents whose views of GPAs are from pre-1968. Junior brings home a 3.00 GPA and they think he's doing pretty good, so they send in another check for another $50,000 worth of diversity hysteria college for Junior, but they don't realize that a 3.00 is more like a 1.00 in the bad old days. This is the 2010s, where everybody and everything that has to do with college is "amazing." (I went to a college-related event tonight and heard the word "amazing" at least a couple of dozen times.)

Look, Junior is happy with his grades, the college is happy, the deluded parents are happy, and Nintendo is happy that Junior has time to play several hours of video games per evening during the academic year. Everybody is amazingly happy, so why are you complaining?

But what happens after another generation of grade inflation?

I guess we'll need new varietals of A, like how bonds are rated, where A is pretty ho-hum, compared to Aa- or Aaa.

61 comments:

Marlo said...

Diversity training will come in handy when Junior begins post-college life at Burger King or Walmart.

Anonymous said...

For more on the miserable state of academe, see 100 Reasons NOT to Go to Graduate School:

http://100rsns.blogspot.com/

Reason 32 seems applicable here.

Anonymous said...

We've certainly had a bit of this in British education.

GCSEs (taken at 16) used to be graded A, B, C, D etc Then a new grade was added: A star, usually written as A*. This was sold as a grade higher than A! The top 5% or whatever. And who knows perhaps it really was back in the 1990s.

Of course everyone knows now that A* = the old A. With everything shifted along.

New Old
A* = A
A = B
B = C
C = D

I say everyone, I think for some parents and children there is still a shine on the grade, A* must mean exceptionally gifted.

How along before the A** is implemented?

eh said...

... but not useless diversity programs.

Like I've said before, political correctness is very powerful -- practically nothing is more important than showing the required deference.

So in that sense, 'diversity programs' are not "useless" to those who push them.

A similar story.

sabril said...

Probably part of the reason for grade inflation is the dramatically increased use of adjuncts. There is a lot of pressure on adjuncts (as there is on all non-tenured faculty) to hand out good grades.

Anonymous said...

I will tell you who it hurts, the people who graduate from schools which still grade from A to F. I graduated from West Point, which has tough grading standards and requires a mandatory engineering minor. My 3.01 GPA put me roughly in the top 40% of graduates. When I applied for MBA programs my GPA was "very concerning". Luckily West Point is well-known enough that some of the MBA programs knew the deal and applied a "bump" to my GPA to even things out. On the other hand, if some minor liberal arts school tried to grade toughly, they would be screwing their students' chances at graduate school.

Carol said...

Grades are all whack now on every level. One gal bragged how her daughter got straight A's in high school. Upon graduation the girl went into the Job Corps.

I used to think the "studies" classes were for people to learn about others. But aren't the various diversity studies classes now just refuges for the diversity students themselves? For example here, the admin is always dragooning Indian kids off the reservation to come to the U, to major in Native American Studies, if nothing else works. Then they can get an admin job with an Indian agency or something, and be Professional Indians.

rightsaidfred said...

The alphabet soup of offices and committees is beyond parody. Seems like it would collapse under its own weight.

It all sounds like sinecures for nice but unproductive people.

Anonymous said...

diversity now trumps everything, health, women's 'rights' defense, security, progress, exploration, research, safety, common sense, excellence, preservation, ecology, environment, quality of life...
yet still no major public figure asks.. why?

Marlowe said...

One can't have too much equality.

"For example three years ago a grassroots economist noticed that college graduates earned, on the average, about thirty percent more than their fellow citizens who lacked bachelors' degrees. Such an undemocratic condition is anathema to the California Dream, so with great speed, an initiative was qualified for the next election, the measure passed, and all California high school graduates and/or California citizens attaining eighteen years were henceforth awarded bachelors' degrees. A grandfather clause backdated this benefit eight years.

This measure worked beautifully; the holder of a bachelors' degree no longer had any undemocratic advantage. At the next election the grandfather clause was extended to cover the last twenty years and there is a strong movement to extend this boon to all citizens.

'Vox populi, vox Dei.' I can't see anything wrong with it. This benevolent measure costs nothing and makes everyone (but a few soreheads) happier."

- Friday, Robert Heinlein, 1982.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that this hasnt happend in Europe (at least Sweden and Germany). My advisor has only given one A for a thesis in his career.

-Jostein

Anonymous said...

My wife is doing a Master's program at an American university. Relative to my experience with Canadian universities in the 1980s, the grade inflation there is absurd. In her program, anything under 90 (or maybe 85, can't remember) is a failure, 95 appears to be about a B+, a middle A starts around 97.

Cennbeorc

Anonymous said...

If you consider whole student transcripts, you can still get a Bell curve out of a single bit resolution grading system.

"But what happens after another generation of grade inflation?"

Universities will begin supplying a grading system with two bit resolution for describing the level of intellectual challenge and workload for a course. In the end, universities must concede that for their student transcripts to have any value, they must signal to employers in some way how exceptional a student is, especially in the coming age of a touchier, browner America when elite schools will be forced to admit as much as half their class based on race.

A Chicano studies major can receive all A's, yet still be near the bottom of his class but not conclusively proven to be of low intellect.

Mr. Anon said...

I have also noticed contemporary America's overuse of the word "amazing". The word "amazing" now just about makes me want to wretch.

Andrew said...

I recall speaking with a professor about this topic in the early-to-mid 1990's. He said he had checked back on his grades given out over the past 20 years and didn't discern any noticable pattern of inflation.

If you section off the graph at the points he was looking at - around 1994 to 1972, there is some minor fluctuation, but everything seems pretty stable - 30% A's, 40% B's, 20% C's, 5% D's, 5% F's.

The big change was from about 1964 to 1972, and from 1994 to present when a pre-existing trend from the late-1980's broke out of the fixed range.

Another way of looking at this is to see what GPA is required to get various honors at colleges. When my dad was in school from 62 to 6, he needed a 3.3 gpa to get into various honor societies. By the time I was there 30 years later, you needed a 3.7 gpa to attain the same honor society invitations.

David said...

The diversitycrats, besides having a vested interest in their sinecures, are religious fanatics. Their religion is: racial egalitarianism. They will push to make lions tigers and vice-versa, no matter what facts obtrude, no matter what disasters (on earth) result.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you're complaining. If Jr is a liberal arts major at almost any university, the course content is crap anyway. The universities are redeeming themselves in a way by giving fake grades for diversity studies.

Bureaucratologist said...

Are there actual EEOC regs or other govt imperatives driving diversity at the university?

The EEOC does have a report on diversity in the media, proof that the media is government-controlled through its personnel policies. Are there similar reports on academia?

Or is it driven by the credentialing organizations?

Should we sneer at the career prospects for gender/ethnic studies majors? Sure, their whole departments are created to give cushy jobs to women and minorities to boost the university's diversity cred.

But you could say the same about USG's and large corporations' human resources and diversity offices. The universities are incubating an activist core which has been remaking the business and political sectors for its own ends.

Anonymous said...

I received in the mail two days ago the Fall, 2011 (Volume 6, Issue 1) publication of the community college (Los Medanos) serving my area, East Contra Costa County of CA, now considered part of the Bay Area.

It includes a colorful two page spread, complete with pictures featuring 16 purportedly young college students, most brown-skinned, one black-skinned, two white-skinned, entitled, "Introducing LMC's Transfer Academy-La Academia de LMC," written by one Rosa L. Armendariz.

On the second page of the spread in a bold box appears the following:

" In October of 2010, Los Medanos College (LMC) was awarded a five-year federal grant--a Title V Hispanic-Serving Institutions Grant--that will help expand educational opportunities for students in East Contra Costa County. The purpose of the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program is to expand educational opportunities for, and improve the academic attainment of Latino and first-generation students.

"The grant titled EXITO, which means 'success' in Spanish, will focus on improving transfer rates from LMC to four-year colleges and universities. Through the grant, LMC will work on three areas: 1) improving its partnerships with high schools and families 2) expanding LMC's Transfer Center and services, including the new Transfer Academy for students, and 3) supporting assessment and offering professional development for faculty and staff."

The first paragraph of the article asks, " Have you recently graduated from high school?" The following page(s) go on to offer answers or explanations under these headings: "What is the Transfer Academy?" "Why should I join the Transfer Academy?" "Transfer guarantee programs (TAGS)," Specialized transfer counseling," "Take university classes before you transfer," Financial aid, scholarships, and book loans," Letters of recommendation from our staff, " "Transfer Academy Center," "How do I apply for the Transfer Academy?"

The last category explains that "to be eligible for the Transfer Academy, you need to do the following prior to entry: Complete an assessment and orientation, Be eligible for English 90 or above, Be eligible for Math 30 or above, Participate in a Summer Bridge program, Commit to being a full-time student (abut 12 units per semester), Commit to being part of a dynamic college program, Be excited about transferring!)"

(con't) in next post

Anonymous said...

(con't.)

Under the heading "Transfer Academy Center (ready for Spring 2012) is the following:

"To ensure your successful transfer, as part of the Transfer Academy, we have admission agreements with these colleges:

*California State Univesity East Bay
*Clark Atlanta University
*Golden Gate University
*National University
*Saint Mary's College of California
*University of California, Davis *University of California, Irvine *University of California, Merced *University of California,Riverside
*University of California, San Diego
*University of California, Santa Barbara
*University of California, Santa Cruz
*University of the Pacific

"The terms of the agreements may change according to needs of the institutions. See your Transfer Academy counselor to learn about each of the agreements."

I just called the number listed at the end of the article to get clarification of the definition of "Latino and first-generation students" as there are grammatical ambiguities in that phrase. I'd also like to know how just how "Latino" must a student be and how that Latino-ness would be determined or if there would be any effort to determine the Latino-ness at all, or if there would be such an effort, just how legal would that effort be.

The person at that extension was "unavailable at the moment."

I shall call again.

Anonymous said...

Average GPA for science/engineering majors at UC schools is well under 3.0. Not much grade inflation there.

Anonymous said...

The youth of today need to learn more about their future Chinese overlords. I say bring on the diversity training.

Anonymous said...

You ask: Does grade inflation really matter? Who wins and who loses from grade inflation?

The most dramatic period of grade inflation appears to span the years 1966-1972. I’ve heard two plausible explanations for this. One is that professors were reluctant to fail young men who might, as a consequence, lose their draft exemptions.

The other is that grade inflation was the result of affirmative action. Anecdotally, some professors have said that there was pressure to overgrade black students, and consequently, to overgrade white students in order to justify or conceal their actions.

Also, note that no one in academe really minds if you mention the Vietnam War as a cause of grade inflation. But if you mention affirmative action, watch out! You’d best have tenure.

http://philosophyproject.org/assets/Grade%20Inflation%20%20Time%20to%20Face%20the%20Facts%20-%20Harvard%202001.pdf

One welcome feature of grade inflation is that it compresses the distribution. The “achievement gap” immediately seems to shrink – unless you’re familiar with the notion of standard deviation.

So: who wins and who loses? Here’s how I score it:

Black students get higher grades. White students do too. Both are clear winners, at least until employers, parents etc. begin to catch on. Professors get a new (cost-free!) way to ingratiate themselves to students, while administrators see pleasing improvements in metrics which contribute to their school’s US NEWS ranking. So both of these groups are winners, too.

Academic rigor, on the other hand, is bound to be a loser. High grades and a compressed distribution mean there’s less at stake. Students are freed to focus on extracurriculars.

Eventually, society-at-large begins to wonder: what exactly is the value-added of a college education?

kurt9 said...

The University of California at San Diego, for example, is creating a new full-time “vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This position would augment UC San Diego’s already massive diversity apparatus,...

This stuff reminds me of the old Soviet Union. As the society continued to collapse, the apparatus and bureaucracy of ideology continued to grow right up until the end.

Geoff said...

This is the 2010s, where everybody and everything that has to do with college is "amazing." (I went to a college-related event tonight and heard the word "amazing" at least a couple of dozen times.)

That's just California. And it's not restricted to college-aged kids, either.

Anonymous said...

This is the 2010s, where everybody and everything that has to do with college is "amazing." (I went to a college-related event tonight and heard the word "amazing" at least a couple of dozen times.)

Reminds me of Schwarzeneggerspeak. Everything's "amazing" and "fantastic" and so on and so forth and whatnot.

Svigor

Anonymous said...

I think decreases in the amount of work assigned are a problem for colleges, but it's not immediately clear to me that grade inflation is a big one, so long as everyone knows it's happening. First of all, grade inflation doesn't matter - it's grade compression that matters, because as grades narrow, they communicate less information. (If we created an AA and just bumped everyone up a grade from 30 years ago, that would be fine.) So it'd be the students who formerly would have gotten As who are hurt, and students who wouldn't have gotten As but now are who are helped.

Except, really, how much does this actually happen? A limited number of employers care about grades. Graduate and professional schools care about grades, but they have lots of other ways to sort prospective students, including test scores, recommendations, and writing samples. Differential grade inflation, where grade inflation happens more in private colleges and in certain types of departments, would have the capacity to create winners and losers. Except graduate and professional schools know about differential grade inflation and take it into account. If you apply to law school with a 4.0 from Oberlin in anthropology, they know not to treat that the same as if you have a 4.0 in math from the University of Maryland.

The best case I've heard for grade compression/differential grade inflation being bad is that it hurts students when they're picking majors. A student gets a B+ in an economics or engineering class and an A in English and decides he's better at English, not really processing that the grading schemes are different.

David said...

>I went to a college-related event tonight and heard the word "amazing" at least a couple of dozen times.<

"Incredible" seems frequent as well. In Britain they used to have "absolutely fabulous" (title of old Brit TV show); I think they still have it as a common phrase.

Sales talk has replaced a lot of discourse. For example, read the manual of any complicated big-deal software program (like Final Cut Studio Pro). It's about 1200 pages of sales talk. "You can do many things with this software. There are many possibilities. You can do x, or you can do y. You can do a, or you can do b. You can do c or d." But actual instructions on HOW to do any of these amazing things are strikingly sparse. When the sales department is writing the instruction manual, we are in a decadent period indeed.

Anonymous said...

If equality and inclusion are the goals, why even have any exams at all? Why not decide everything by a lottery?

I guess what the teachers in Atlanta did were actually ahead of its time. It was for equality and inclusion.

We should all demand to be included into Harvard as equals.

Marlowe said...

"Your wife is divorcing you Mr Schwarzenegger. She wants your clothes, your boots, your motorcycle and 90% of your gross worth."

"Amazing. Fantastic."

Anonymous said...

But did City Journal support or oppose Yale dumping its 'antisemitism studies' program?

Anonymous said...

Democrats control the state so pork has to be handed to the supporters. It's like GOP politicians in the South dole out money to Creationist dummies.

agnostic said...

Grade inflation is mostly a "buy-side" pressure, meaning whoever is using the student's grades to judge their quality -- whether to give them a job, an internship, a scholarship, etc.

Otherwise those people would be loudly complaining that colleges these days are only fooling us when they send us an applicant with a 3.0 but who is dumb as rocks.

That was the case with the bond ratings that you mentioned -- it was the buyers who wanted those inflated ratings. That way they could hide the risk of junky investments -- hey, those guys said they were triple A!

By the time the jig was up, the money managers had already gotten their salaries and bonuses, so who cares if it eventually blew up? They got paid proportional to the volume of stuff they were managing, so the incentive was to take in more, no matter how low-quality it was.

Something similar is going on in the places taking in new graduates -- the private sector, government, grad school, etc.

The managers get to hide the risk of taking in low-quality people by saying, "yeah but they got a 3.0!" They get to "build their brand" by bragging about how many smart people they have. By the time the house of cards falls down, no biggie, they've made their money and are working somewhere else.

agnostic said...

That also explains grade inflation at the high-school level. The people who take in high school grads are colleges. They want grade inflation because it allows them to take in a higher volume of students, which means more tuition dollars.

Given the diminishing marginal quality of students as they expand the pool of applicants, they need something to cover their ass and make it look like they're taking in promising students. Hence grade inflation.

By the time someone else gets screwed by the college's charade -- the student himself who figures out he wasn't as smart as he'd been told, or whoever else -- the college has already taken their money, the managers gotten paid, and so on.

After the financial bubble popped, the charlatans were bailed out. Why would we think the same thing won't happen when the low-quality college student bubble eventually pops?

The continuance of the bubble relies on the students paying back their crushing loans. Yet the more low-quality students there are in the loan-bearing population, the more likely they are to not be able to pay them back -- their college degree is not going to earn them big bucks, because it was a total joke.

Who knows when that breaking point will come, but it is inevitable.

Last thought: any chance that those defaults will be "contained" rather than spread as a contagion as the mortgage defaults brought down the broader economy last time?

elvisd said...

The person at that extension was "unavailable at the moment."

I shall call again.


Seriously, do call again and report what they told you. I'm all ears and up for a good laugh.

Eric said...

Average GPA for science/engineering majors at UC schools is well under 3.0. Not much grade inflation there.

In the late '80s when I was a UC engineering student the worst move you could make was to do a few years of engineering and then transfer to the business school.

In engineering a "C" was a decent grade. Nothing to write home about, to be sure, but to get that grade you had to have a pretty good grasp of the subject matter. An "A" was pretty rare - only one or two percent of students in any given class would get one. Professors would normally give out one "A+" to the top performing student in all sections (my roommate, damn him).

In the business school everybody got an "A". Anything less was as good as an "F", since the companies which came to interview on campus wouldn't bother with you unless you had a 4.0 average.

I a dozen people who transferred to the business school mid-way through their second or third year, got perfect grades from then on, and ended up working at used car lots because the engineering classes weighed down their transcript. They would have been better off sticking it out on the low end of the engineering curve - even with mediocre grades you could get a job as an engineer.

Bill said...

Steve asked the right question. What difference does it make?

How many employers pay attention to grades? It is important for grad school, but for what else?

Anonymous said...

Compare the chart in this post with the one here. Coincidence?

helene edwards said...

@Carol, above:

a few years ago I was on a BART train going through Berkeley. A young black guy stepped on, and was recognized by an old acquaintance standing near me. #1 told #2 he was attending U.C.Berkeley. #2 responded with a knowing smile, "ethnic studies?"

Anonymous said...

"I don't know why you're complaining. If Jr is a liberal arts major at almost any university, the course content is crap anyway. The universities are redeeming themselves in a way by giving fake grades for diversity studies."

I wanted to challenge such a philistine comment. But then I went through the 'disciplines'. Clearly the 'studies' courses are risible. The 'ologies' are hopelessly corrupted by PC (as Marxists might say 'doomed by their internal contradictions'. Ha!). But what about History, Literature...?
Well, it would depend on whether the topic de jour was 'analysis of Polish grain harvests and their effect on peasant protests in the 1840s'; and 'deconstruction of privilege in Jane Austen'.
That pretty much leaves Philosophy and the Classics, Languages, Music and Art History with some credibility. Interestingly, these are hardly growth areas in the modern university.
Gilbert P.

Anonymous said...

Grade inflation. Same with Moodys and AAA rating for subprime mortgages.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the losers are parents whose views of GPAs are from pre-1968.

There are still colleges in the US where they make a point of handing out a lot of B's and C's. The good public colleges, interestingly enough, make it much harder to get a 4.0 GPA than do the "elite" Ivies. Of course the customers of the Ivies are shelling out a lot of moolah, and they're not doing that so that Jane can get a mediocre grade. For their $120,000 they expect to be told that their child is a superior specimen.

Anonymous said...

The most corrosive thing about grading in American colleges is not that everyone gets easy grades, it's that the grade you get in many individual courses is heavily dependent on your race, sex, ethnicity, class, and political beliefs. Being a female is worth about one entire letter grade in non-scientific courses. I have to assume that brown skin is at least that valuable.

Mark Royer said...

No one seems to have told the professors at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. My daughter, who was National Honor Society in high school, busted her tail to graduate with a B- GPA. Of course the other Californians have characterized the school as White, Christian and Republican. And they have a great Rodeo team. Way out of step in the Golden State. No wonder her freshman class of just over 4,000 started with over 27,000 applicants.

Steve Sailer said...

Cal Poly SLO -- no racial preferences (banned by Prop. 209) and no holistic application either (the rest of the Cal States aren't worth doing holistic admissions over, so CPSLO doesn't have them either. This makes CPSLO a rare a highly desirable school with no thumb on the scale.)

Steve Sailer said...

By cousin's daughter goes to CPSLO.

Big class sizes, though, and not enough on-campus housing. But, it's kind of like BYU in showing that you can run a pretty good at a fairly low budget.

Jack Aubrey said...

Well, here's the link to the College of Ethnic Studies at CSU San Francisco. It has 4 departments: Africana Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, and Raza Studies. Over 40 faculty members with the rank of assistant professor or above.

Incidentally, the Engineering and Computer Science departments at CSUSF combined have only about 33 faculty members.

If the govenrment of California is to do the right thing, then the local business community needs to force them to realize that more ehtnic studies grads isn't the way to go. Of course they're busy recruiting over in Hyderabad, so they probably don't really give a shit...

Anonymous said...

"My daughter, who was National Honor Society in high school, busted her tail to graduate with a B- GPA."

LOL she didn't tell you about all the frat parties.

As long as you understand the nuances of grade inflation I don't think it harms anyone.

Everyone knows that at Harvard/most of the Ivies if you bother to show up to class you'll get some sort of A. They're trying to get donations, after all.

At good public universities, getting an A still takes work, but not too much. Only 30% of the class will get an A.

There are a few random hardass schools that haven't allowed their grades to inflate too much (like the Berkeley engineering school), but I'm sure most grad school admissions people are aware of them.

DanJ said...

"...so they send in another check for another $50,000 worth of college for Junior, but they don't realize that a 3.00 is more like a 1.00 in the bad old days."

Then again, that $50,000 now is more like a $10,000 in the bad old days, so it sort of evens out.

Anonymous said...

http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2011/07/fucking-honor-student.html

Read the comments. Freaking hilarious.

Londoner said...

I remember David Brooks's "amazing" creativeperson whom he designated "she" without explanation. When I hear the word "amazing", I reach for my revolver.

Hapalong Cassidy said...

Regarding grade inflation, I remember a grad school professor of mine giving me a short history of it. After Sputnik in the early fifties, grade DEFLATION actually occured, especially among science and engineering departments, as the prevailing wisdom at the time was that the US was falling behind the Soviets. The late sixties and early seventies saw major grade inflation, as professors were afraid giving a poor grade to a student might result in a de facto death sentence for him (i.e. being drafted into the Vietnam War). At the time I was in grad school - the early 90's - there was still some of that mentality left, but for the most part grade inflation had leveled off. Now it looks like it's coming back in spades.

dcite said...

" Being a female is worth about one entire letter grade in non-scientific courses. I have to assume that brown skin is at least that valuable."

B.S. Male and female IQs and acadmic performance in the 115 to 140 area (where most grad students fall) are not worth a "whole grade" except in the hard sciences.
Being female is not worth a "grade" in the humanities. There are too manty females majoring there. If anything, I'd say males are more likely to be favored. Also, if there is any inflation on behalf of females, it is more likely to be -- mildly -- in the hard sciences. During the 70s, when women were still unusual in law school, they got lower grades because of a tendency not to be as agressive verbally. That may have changed. Probably has.
When I worked in the American Studies Dept. of a large private university, a recruiting guy came in and talked about getting the "best man" for the job (circa 1982). The prof, no pc hack, replied that most of the strongest students were female and the guy just explained that "best man" was a figure of speech and he meant whoever was the best for the job.

Women have always been pretty strong academically in non-hard science courses and have not needed much affirmative action. To compare a middle to upper class female with a black or hispanic of either gender (and I speak strictly statistically) is absurd.
In any case, there is more than 75 years of pre-1964 college grading culture, where you could easily do research on the average scores and grades of men and women in each subject, in colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

Anonymous said...

Male and female IQs and acadmic performance in the 115 to 140 area

What are you talking about? IQ? Grades have little to do with IQ, especially in the social sciences and humanities.


Being female is not worth a "grade" in the humanities. There are too manty females majoring there. If anything, I'd say males are more likely to be favored.

Would you now? And what would you base that on?


Women have always been pretty strong academically in non-hard science courses and have not needed much affirmative action.

I don't know whether they "need" it or not. They certainly do get it though. Male college students have slightly better SAT scores then the females, indicating slightly higher IQ. Yet the females do significantly better in college.

In any case, there is more than 75 years of pre-1964 college grading culture, where you could easily do research on the average scores and grades of men and women in each subject, in colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

Yeah, there are. And the evidence indicates that modern women in college are given a big boost by their professors.

Anonymous said...

At good public universities, getting an A still takes work, but not too much. Only 30% of the class will get an A.

Depends on the college and the course being taken within that college. In Queens College NY the math and science depts will not allow more than 10% to score an A.

Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting question:what should testing measure?

Should it measure mastery of the subject matter? if so then the students should not be in competition with each other at all. It would be perfectly possible for every student to get a A, or for every student to get an F. A students grade is not dependent, for good or ill, on the performance of other students.

The other system, grading on a curve, is used in many American colleges. This means that a certain percentage of the students will get an A, and a certain percentage will get a D ... regardless of their mastery of the subject matter. The smartest person in a class full of dunces will be an A student. Meanwhile a very intelligent person in a class full of very very intelligent people will be a D student.

Another problem with testing in US colleges is that it's not blind. The graders know the people they are grading, making it easy to award or deduct marks for non-academic reasons such as race.

Anonymous said...

It all sounds like sinecures for nice but unproductive people.

Except that [in reality] they are mean* and anti-productive people.



*I'm not kidding about the mean-ness, either: I've spent my entire lfe in college towns, surrounded by these libtarded SWPL nihilists, and they'd sell their own grandmothers into Muslim sex slavery if they thought it would help them get a leg up on a grant application.

Eric said...

The other system, grading on a curve, is used in many American colleges.

Heh. In my Alma Mater the nuclear engineering department (thank God I went EE) used a hybrid system. They graded on a curve, but there was also a feeling of "You're going to design nuclear power plants, so you need to know this." One year they flunked every student in a required class, meaning nobody graduated from that department until the following year.

The real shame was nobody designed nuclear power plants for the next 25 years anyway. May as well have just passed them.

dcite said...

"Being female is not worth a "grade" in the humanities. There are too manty females majoring there. If anything, I'd say males are more likely to be favored."

"Would you now? And what would you base that on?"

Oh, I don't know, Anonymous. Just a hunch based on subjective observation and opinion, to which you appear to be no stranger. What did the pot call the kettle? Black? Spotted? Fuschia?
Multiple choice is what has ruined education.

Maybe it was the special attention the cute, articulate guys got in my lady professor's class. Also in my gay professors' classes come to think of it.

When I was in college there were a couple of professors who were noted for going down a letter if the student was female. This was a small college. No one tried to prove it though; it could not have been proven anymore than you can prove they'd go up a grade for a girl. It was just a fact of life that some professors favored guys. Nobody questioned that that occurred occasionally and nobody thought of litigation. You learned to appreciate appreciative teachers who looked at the mind, and only the mind, which is their job and why they are there.

"In any case, there is more than 75 years of pre-1964 college grading culture, where you could easily do research on the average scores and grades of men and women in each subject, in colleges and universities throughout the U.S."

"Yeah, there are. And the evidence indicates that modern women in college are given a big boost by their professors."

"Yeah, there are." Not too convincing, Anonymous. I'd have to read them myself. Always frustrating because you know as soon as you finish, somebody's going to wave one in your face that proves just the opposite.
I brought up pre-1964 college grading as a way to determine the average grades of men and women before "inflation." By looking at those grades, and looking at current grades, you might get an idea of inflation by gender. Such a "study" might be worth doing and might actually get at the truth.

But that comparison of white female grades to black and hispanic was just absurd.

Anonymous said...

"Everyone knows that at Harvard if you bother to show up to class you'll get some sort of A."

Well I guess a lot depends on who's doing the showing up. True story, Harvard seminar in a semi-obscure branch of literature, over 20 years ago...

PROFESSOR: ...which leads us to an interesting paradox. You! Sleepy guy in the back there! What's your opinion of all this?

ME: I'm very sorry professor, but the truth is, I don't have an opinion because I haven't even read the novel yet.

PROFESSOR: Well why didn't you read it?

ME: Because I've been really really busy directing a Shakespeare play.

PROFESSOR: (laughs) Well why didn't you say so before? Come and see me during office hours, and we'll talk about Shakespeare instead!

See, people at Harvard are intellectual grown-ups. Or at least they used to be, I haven't seen the place in over a decade. The alumni magazine sometimes has me deeply worried, sometimes not.

PS -- and yes, I got an A in the course, after submitting a well-researched and (ostensibly) insightful paper that had the professor asking me serious questions back, about his own field. Spotty attendance though. And no, I never did read that novel.

paul said...

Flowers