Gleevec

Peter, those are Cheerios
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2002
4,129
9
Status (Visible)
http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=357306
http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=357445

Interesting that the number of A's actually went up at Harvard, despite the amount of attention being paid to the issue.

And while some would argue that all students at Harvard deserve A's just for getting in, let's not forget that the name itself carries a lot of weight (ie a B at Harvard would be worth more than an A at Anon State University). Still, the percentages are absolutely staggering.
:wow:
 

peterockduke

Constipation Nation!
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2003
333
4
Status (Visible)
From the article:
"In addition, the report said that ?A? grades made up 22.4 percent of all grades students received last year. A-minuses spiked as well, to 25.4 percent of all grades."

So about half the class gets A's, sweet.
Wow, that is almost as bad as poli sci majors at Duke! (Allow me to have my fun Gleevec.)

I mean, I realize they're generally some of the best students in the country and they beast the mcat, but they should still be under a curve if not for the very reason listed in the article: the student who gets an 85 and the student who gets a 98 will not be reflected. People can complain but 1) it's harvard and 2) i'm sure the adcoms already know this.

The ugrad still has a higher ave. mcat than almost any medical school.
 

exmike

NOR * CAL
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
May 19, 2003
4,206
11
43
Bay Area
Status (Visible)
  1. Fellow [Any Field]
Originally posted by peterockduke
From the article:
"In addition, the report said that ?A? grades made up 22.4 percent of all grades students received last year. A-minuses spiked as well, to 25.4 percent of all grades."

So about half the class gets A's, sweet.
Wow, that is almost as bad as poli sci majors at Duke! (Allow me to have my fun Gleevec.)

I mean, I realize they're generally some of the best students in the country and they beast the mcat, but they should still be under a curve if not for the very reason listed in the article: the student who gets an 85 and the student who gets a 98 will not be reflected. People can complain but 1) it's harvard and 2) i'm sure the adcoms already know this.

The ugrad still has a higher ave. mcat than almost any medical school.

Damn, I shouldve gone to harvard. Oh wait, they wouldve never accepted me to being with. :(
 
About the Ads

Nuel

Full Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 8, 2003
2,991
1
Rap Group Home
Status (Visible)
What if the students at Harvard are generally very motivated individuals relative to students at other colleges? I think this would weaken the article's argument.
 

Neon Black

Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2002
85
0
Beyond Within
Status (Visible)
The mean grade point average rose slightly, from 3.39 to 3.41.


This is beyond ridiculous. Breaking 3.0 gets most universities in an uproar.


About the motivated individuals. I'm very certain that a lot of Ivys have motiviated people with nowhere near that type of grade inflation.
 

jhrugger

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2003
185
0
Charleston, SC
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
1/2 of a college class getting As and A-s absolutely detracts from the worth of the degree, regardless what facilities are available, which teachers teach, and what classes are taken (all three of which are great at harvard).

basically means b students at harvard must not be doing any work at all.
 

LP1CW

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2003
651
1
50
Status (Visible)
As a Harvard student, I would have to say that yes most of us do well, but then again, we would do well at any college. You're making the assumption that there is grade inflation in all classes. That's not true. All of us can name certain classes and disciplines that generally grade easier.

And the truth is: If you have a 2.8 at Harvard, caused by a force curve, you're not going to get into medical school, graduate school. The students here are, with a few exceptions, the best. However, I've said this before, I have many friends at other schools that are just as bright and capable as my classmates at Harvard. My best friend is finishing up at Rutgers. He could cut it here. He's extremely bright. And he has several acceptances to quite a few good medical schools.

I've had quite a few teaching fellows and not professors that have been responsible for my grades. There are days that I think I would have been better off at a small school like Bates, Colby, Bowdoin.
 

meanderson

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2003
681
0
Status (Visible)
Originally posted by Gleevec

And while some would argue that all students at Harvard deserve A's just for getting in, let's not forget that the name itself carries a lot of weight (ie a B at Harvard would be worth more than an A at Anon State University).
:wow: [/B]

for med school admissions? A 3.0 from Harvard isn't going to work nearly as effective as a 4.0 from anon state, assuming mcat's are equal. 3.0/33 from Harvard isn't going to get you interviews at many top 25 schools. 4.0/33 from Arkansas State University will get you some top 25 interviews if the EC's are decent.
 

periodic

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 28, 2003
321
0
Status (Visible)
Going to have to agree to a large degree with meanderson and LPC1CW. The med schools that think of themselves as the best in research, patient care, and teaching want people who have risen to the top in their respective settings. If you haven't taken advantage of and excelled at some of the things a school like Harvard offers, what business do you have being with kids who did at other places, or excelled with less?

Besides, who would want to make a med school class full of Harvard, Yale, or Princeton kids...I wouldn't :)
 

mosoriire

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 11, 1999
121
1
Baltimore, MD, US
Status (Visible)
Going to have to agree to a large degree with meanderson and LPC1CW. The med schools that think of themselves as the best in research, patient care, and teaching want people who have risen to the top in their respective settings. If you haven't taken advantage of and excelled at some of the things a school like Harvard offers, what business do you have being with kids who did at other places, or excelled with less?

I think that's hwat the whole argument is about...You cant tell who rose to the top of the class or not at Harvard, if everyone is getting a 3.7 avg GPA, and only say 4 out of a class of 200 get a 3.0/4.0.

I heard that over 85% of the last three graduating classes graduated with highest honors. WTF? I find that very difficult to even concieve.

If the studetns at harvard are really that much more motivated, their professors should be in response...There aint no way any one can know EVERY thing in a particular subject, so the whole they are extra-motivated argument doesnt apply.
 

AverageMan

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2003
512
1
Status (Visible)
Originally posted by ankitovich
P&S?

Ain't it the truth. The facebook they give at the interviews is quite disheartening if you aren't from the ivy league.
 

kokonut

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2003
73
0
Status (Visible)
1) Everybody does not get a 3.7 avg GPA. Even though the average GPA is a 3.4, the average science GPA is definitely lower. If you read the article, it notes that the grading schemes are markedly different between different divisions (humanities and social sciences vs. natural sciences). And if you have less than a 3.5, even from Harvard, you're going to need a pretty exceptional application to get into a decent med school.

2) It is ridiculous to say that 85% graduate with highest honors. Highest honors is capped at 5% of the graduating class every year -- so yes it does mean something. It is probably the most prestigious distinction granted to multiple people at Harvard. In addition, beyond GPAs, there are other honors such as Phi Beta Kappa, Hoopes Prize, etc. etc. that do allow for distinctions to be made between students. That 80+% statistic applies to people who just graduate with honors, and a committee is forcing departments to tighten up their requirements for honors to lower that number to less than 60%.

Sorry, this stuff just frustrates me. Yes, most of the people at Harvard are really bright, very qualified and talented people. Yes, the GPAs at Harvard are higher than they are at a lot of other places. But, I am not even going to get into the whole debate about whether it's valid, or fair, or anything like that because I just don't understand what the obssession is.

The bottom line, is that medical schools know what Harvard is like. They have seen thousands of Harvard applicants and have had their share of med students who came from Harvard. They pretty much know what they're getting from a Harvard undergrad with a 3.7 GPA and xxx extracurrics, and they know what they're getting from a Harvard undergrad with a 3.3 GPA and yyy extracurrics. They know how to gauge who's a good applicant and who's not, and they have developed their own cutoffs.

Everybody spends so much time on this forum talking about how it's not just about the numbers and how adcoms look at your entire profile and your motivations. Even if they dropped the mean Harvard GPAs by 2.0, it does not mean that no one from Harvard would get into med school. It does not mean those spots would be replaced by people with 4.0s from Podunk U because the only thing stopping them was that the Harvad applicants had 3.5s, and adcoms don't know what a 3.5 means at Harvard. It means that adcoms would eventually adjust, figure out how the grading scheme reflects applicants, and still be picking pretty much the same applicants.

If anything, the type of standardization that you're arguing for would be most relevant for no-name colleges. Since med schools don't take as many applicants from no-name colleges, they have a much more difficult time gauging what they're getting, based on numbers.

My $.02.


Originally posted by mosoriire
I think that's hwat the whole argument is about...You cant tell who rose to the top of the class or not at Harvard, if everyone is getting a 3.7 avg GPA, and only say 4 out of a class of 200 get a 3.0/4.0.

I heard that over 85% of the last three graduating classes graduated with highest honors. WTF? I find that very difficult to even concieve.

If the studetns at harvard are really that much more motivated, their professors should be in response...There aint no way any one can know EVERY thing in a particular subject, so the whole they are extra-motivated argument doesnt apply.
 
About the Ads

Gbemi24

1K Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Apr 23, 2003
1,940
3
Status (Visible)
Originally posted by LP1CW

And the truth is: If you have a 2.8 at Harvard, caused by a force curve, you're not going to get into medical school, graduate school. The students here are, with a few exceptions, the best. However, I've said this before, I have many friends at other schools that are just as bright and capable as my classmates at Harvard. My best friend is finishing up at Rutgers. He could cut it here. He's extremely bright. And he has several acceptances to quite a few good medical schools.


Caltech and MIT are as selective if not more selective than Harvard in their undergrad admissions, but they do not have the degree of grade inflation that Harvard has. The "quality of student body" argument is just an excuse. If you cannot compete with the best why go to an elite school? The lack of competition created by grade inflation stifles motivation and competition to a certain extent.
 

periodic

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 28, 2003
321
0
Status (Visible)
Actually when I was writing that last comment, I was thinking P&S myself :)

kokonut makes some good points...the relationship to Harvard doesn't matter.

Admissions commitees know what they're getting, especially from the most well-known schools. They've been evaluating applicants from them for decades....kids with the same classes, activities, positions, honors, etc. They know what it all means. If you know that a ton of people at some schools make honors, why wouldn't a committee whose job it is to select people from those schools know it as well?

I think the "quality of student body" argument is bunk too, but maybe not as much for less well-regarded med schools.
 

celticmists18

california dreaming
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2004
427
0
studying for Step 1
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
I have a friend who graduated second in his class from Harvard with a degree in journalism, he is currently coaching football for a living. (lesson: going to Harvard does not always equal success).
I have had dealings with another school famous for grade inflation-Stanford. For reasons I still don't completely understand, I decided to take my MCAT prep class across the street from Stanford. As you would guess the class was FULL of Stanford students. In fact it was all Stanford students except for myself (University of CA-San Diego) and a girl from UC Davis. It was interesting watching the supposedly all-knowing, "best of the best" Stanford students struggle just like us commoners.
I would also disagree with anyone who says the Harvard students are more motivated than the rest of us . . .besides one also has to consider that some people (God forbid) actually CHOOSE not to attend ivy leagues or other "more prestigious" schools. (Like myself, I chose to attent UCSD instead of Vanderbilt)

-sorry about the rant, but snotty ivy leaguers who refuse to even admit to the possibility that there school is not all that really tick me off! :mad:
 

HooahDOc

Full Member
15+ Year Member
Jun 23, 2003
5,784
895
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
I would agree with whoever said it, maybe the students there are just more motivated and smarter than us. Hence why they got into Harvard to begin with, and thus why the average GPA is above 3.0
 

kokonut

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2003
73
0
Status (Visible)
Originally posted by celticmists18
I have a friend who graduated second in his class from Harvard with a degree in journalism, he is currently coaching football for a living. (lesson: going to Harvard does not always equal success).
I have had dealings with another school famous for grade inflation-Stanford. For reasons I still don't completely understand, I decided to take my MCAT prep class across the street from Stanford. As you would guess the class was FULL of Stanford students. In fact it was all Stanford students except for myself (University of CA-San Diego) and a girl from UC Davis. It was interesting watching the supposedly all-knowing, "best of the best" Stanford students struggle just like us commoners.
I would also disagree with anyone who says the Harvard students are more motivated than the rest of us . . .besides one also has to consider that some people (God forbid) actually CHOOSE not to attend ivy leagues or other "more prestigious" schools. (Like myself, I chose to attent UCSD instead of Vanderbilt)

-sorry about the rant, but snotty ivy leaguers who refuse to even admit to the possibility that there school is not all that really tick me off! :mad:


Okay, I just want to say that I am going to stop checking this thread from this point on because it's probably giving me high blood pressure. Besides, whatever I say probably won't influence what anyone here thinks anyways.

1) There is no such thing as a journalism degree at Harvard. Nor does Harvard rank their students. Therefore, your friend is lying or your friend does not exist.

2) In response to your "lesson", that coaching football does not equal success, my response is that success is however you define it. And if your "friend" is happy coaching football, then all the more power to him. College is not just about opening doors, it's about developing your ability to think, meeting new people and learning new perspectives, and a host of other things. If you really do know someone who graduated near the top of his class from Harvard and is happy coaching football, I think that's absolutely awesome, because my major complaint about Ivy League schools is that they tend to funnel their students into only a few major professions.

3) Being from Stanford (Or Harvard, or any other Ivy League school), does not mean that people in your MCAT class will blow you out of the water with their extensive knowledge. Nobody claims omniscience. However, it does mean that they are, on average, probably better test-takers, better at analyzing problems on paper, and better at absorbing information than the average student at UCSD (note: you could easily be above the mean). And all this is borne out in the fact that Harvard and Stanford have higher MCAT averages than most schools.

4) As has been reiterated to death, of course there are brilliant state-schoolers. Of course there are plenty of people at every school who are intelligent enough to do well at an Ivy League and either chose not to for financial or other reasons, or just didn't have their act together in high school.

However, if you look at the caliber of an average student at an Ivy League versus the caliber of an average student at a substantially lower ranked school, I think it's hard to argue that there's no difference in qualifications.

Note, I am not saying "better." This is not a value judgment. And I am assuming that's why so many people argue about this, because they have this perception that Ivy Leaguers think that they're "better" than non-Ivy Leaguers (or maybe it's just their personal insecurity). Either way, I don't think that's true at all. But, I think it's hard to argue against the fact that the average Ivy Leaguer (compared to a student at a much lower ranked school) is simply more academically prepared, better suited to handle tougher academic loads, and has a history of overachievement in extracurriculars.

As additional side notes -- I am not saying intelligence is directly correlated with academics, in fact I don't really believe that. And two, the reason why I used "much lower-ranked school" as my example, is because I don't think there's any hold on exclusivity for the Ivy League, I am simply talking about top-schools versus non top-schools. So yes, there are other great schools, and I am not excluding them, I am simply using Ivy League schools as an example of top schools.

Okay that's it. I don't think anyone other than periodic even read my last post, so I don't think there's a ton of use in continuing to post my thoughts. Final note: This does not mean that I agree with anything that may follow my post, simply that I refuse to spend any more of my time refuting arguments when hardly anybody reads them. Adios and good luck to everybody in their application process.
 

Nuel

Full Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 8, 2003
2,991
1
Rap Group Home
Status (Visible)
Originally posted by JKDMed
I would agree with whoever said it, maybe the students there are just more motivated and smarter than us. Hence why they got into Harvard to begin with, and thus why the average GPA is above 3.0

They may not necessarily be smarter and motivated than "us". Many people do not go to Harvard for certain reasons, and students at times become more motivated in college than in high school. Also there is the possibility for the reverse--students become less motivated, and this is possible even at Harvard; so this skews the argument.

Initially, I was only making a conjecture which I can't prove at any rate.
 

Gleevec

Peter, those are Cheerios
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2002
4,129
9
Status (Visible)
The only fair basis of comparison between schools is the average MCAT for the applying class then. Id be interested to see some of the averages from grade-inflating Ivies like Harvard. If it is significantly higher than that of students at MIT or Swarthmore or wherever, then Ill be impressed. If Harvard students are as uniquely brilliant as they like to think of themselves (as some have indicated on this thread) then their MCAT's better back up their language... because I have a feeling their average doesnt differ significantly from other top schools that DONT grade inflate (MIT, Caltech, UChicago, Swarthmore, Amherst, etc).
 
About the Ads

Gleevec

Peter, those are Cheerios
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2002
4,129
9
Status (Visible)
Originally posted by peterockduke


The ugrad still has a higher ave. mcat than almost any medical school.

Oh really? What is Harvard's MCAT average for their ugrads?
 

celticmists18

california dreaming
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2004
427
0
studying for Step 1
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
finally some voices of reason! but really, what makes me sooooo mad is that most (I am leaving room for some exceptions) students who go to these school act like they are better than the rest and they aren't even willing to allow for the slightest possiblity that their grades were even the tiniest bit inflated (and when they are confronted with the numbers to prove it they still won't admit it!0
 

Gleevec

Peter, those are Cheerios
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2002
4,129
9
Status (Visible)
Originally posted by peterockduke

So about half the class gets A's, sweet.
Wow, that is almost as bad as poli sci majors at Duke!


Apparently you havent heard of Sociology or AAAS.
 

Rose122

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 17, 2003
76
2
Status (Visible)
Ultimately, the only one that knows if they received a grade that they didn't deserve is the individual. I'm not sure if a Harvard student (since I'm not one) can relax and work less than the average student and receive a decent grade. And, according to the posts that I've seen, each Harvard student seems to think they deserve their scores. Therefore, I propose that grade inflation is a myth. Perhaps a more appropriate term is grade deflation. Maybe other high powered tier one schools actually penalize their students with lower grades to keep them from getting into med school so that they can't go on to the finest residencies, garner prestigious accolades in their respective fields, access high paying jobs, earn award money, obtain research grants, die like everyone else and bequeath their estates to the substandard institutions that penalized them for not getting into Harvard when they were 17 or 18 in the first place.
 

ice_23

Economics Monster
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2003
1,208
1
39
NYC
Status (Visible)
Originally posted by celticmists18
I have a friend who graduated second in his class from Harvard with a degree in journalism, he is currently coaching football for a living. (lesson: going to Harvard does not always equal success).
I have had dealings with another school famous for grade inflation-Stanford. For reasons I still don't completely understand, I decided to take my MCAT prep class across the street from Stanford. As you would guess the class was FULL of Stanford students. In fact it was all Stanford students except for myself (University of CA-San Diego) and a girl from UC Davis. It was interesting watching the supposedly all-knowing, "best of the best" Stanford students struggle just like us commoners.
I would also disagree with anyone who says the Harvard students are more motivated than the rest of us . . .besides one also has to consider that some people (God forbid) actually CHOOSE not to attend ivy leagues or other "more prestigious" schools. (Like myself, I chose to attent UCSD instead of Vanderbilt)

-sorry about the rant, but snotty ivy leaguers who refuse to even admit to the possibility that there school is not all that really tick me off! :mad:

Ugh, this sounds like just another ivy-league hater post, and I guess I am responding out of more passion for my school than anything else (plus, I didn't even see that this thread was started....) but....

C'mon now celtic, you seem really bitter. I know a number of students from such "elite" schools that do indeed struggle like the "commoners" as you put it. But I also know that there are so many ridiculously bright students at my (I can only speak for my school) that make the level of competition there amazingly high. There ARE people who choose not to go to these schools, but there are also people who do. Lots of them. And they usually are very intelligent, and had to pass an incredibly stringent admissions criteria to get in.

That's not to say that people at other schools aren't intelligent or talented themselves. I know that they are. But the ivy-league hating posts do get annoying (I suppose I can sympathize with Kokonut on this matter)....

-Ice
 

yeeester

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2003
70
0
Status (Visible)
just something to think about:

there are people who get into harvard or other ivies and dont go, but there aren't that many of them. harvard's matriculation rate for accepted applicants is somewhere around 80% if i remember correctly. that adds up to 400 kids a year who got in to harvard and chose to go elsewhere. so not many people chose the "get into ivies and go to state u" option.
 

BerkeleyPremed

Membership Revoked
Removed
15+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2003
946
1
Status (Visible)
I agree with the previous poster. The California Institute of Technology is JUST as selective as Harvard (if not moreso...I think Caltech's freshman class has a higher SAT average than Harvard's freshman class), and Caltech is absolutely brutal when it comes to grades. There is no grade inflation at CalTech...and there is no way in hell the professors at Caltech would allow 20 something percent of the students to get As and another 24% to get A- grades. The grade inflation of Harvard is pretty pathetic considering how prestigious it's considered. People have had the gall to say things like, "Harvard is the yardstick by which all other institutions are measured." Well, if that is the case...I hope many other institutions start grade-inflating too.

Caltech might not be the best example because it's primarily an engineering school (although I know a student there who resents that label because he's a biology major)...but there are other schools that are less selective and less "prestigious" than Harvard that do not treat grades like meaningless letters on a piece of paper. University of Chicago is not nearly as selective (it has a 40%+ acceptance rate for undergraduate admissions)...yet, from what I hear and from the Boalt Hall grade inflation survey (conducted by the law school at UC Berkeley), University of Chicago is also brutal in terms of grading. Perhaps Harvard should follow the lead set by MIT, CalTech, Univerisity of Chicago, and Swarthmore...and the Harvard administration might find out that these schools are a better "yardstick.":rolleyes:
 

IrishOarsman

My Rx: Guiness
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 4, 2003
331
0
39
Chicago
Status (Visible)
Ladies and gents, who cares?

Iff there is grade inflation at school x vs school y, then a given gpa G at both schools will correspond to a different class rank (G @ y > G @ x).

By itself, this does not matter (ie, no one should assume that comparing GPAs between institutions is valuable- as it has been shown, it's of little value even when comparing majors within a given university.) It would only matter if:

1) People at x did not recognize that their high gpa put them relatively lower in their own class than a peer with the same gpa at other universities would be in his or her own class

2) Medical schools (and other post-ugrad possibilities) did not know that G @ y > G @ x in so far as it corresponds to class rank.

1. may be true, I don't care so much.

2. I doubt is true. Medical school admissions committees spend lots of money and make elaborate hoops for us to pass through in order to catch on to/see through such specific differences.

Is it possible that a medical school may prefer G @ x over G @ y, despite their recognition of grade inflation? Of course. Medical schools (as well as just about any other type of highly rarified application post-ugrad) have an interest in selecting certain types of students. [From my observations, apparently] many elite institutions like to admit students who have already experienced highly distinctive learning environments where they succeeded.


I write this just because I think the question of grade-inflation-in-itself should be bracketed. If someone wants to argue that students from ivys or any other group of institutions recieves unfair/undeserved consideration in this process (to which their only apparently high GPAs somehow contribute), that I think would be a much stronger argument.
 

viking1224

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 27, 2004
45
0
Vermont
Status (Visible)
I'm curious, is it common practice for college transcripts to include the median grades in a course next to the student's grade? I graduated from an Ivy (albeit not Yale-Harvard-Princeton), and the administration decided to combat grade inflation by initiating this practice. I've always thought it was a good idea, because an A in an A-minus-median class will be recognized as not-so-impressive, while a B+ in a C+-median class is obviously quite good. Unfortunately, AMCAS does not (yet) allow for this information. It might be worth considering. That way schools can use whatever inflated/deflated grading-system they damn well please, refuse to rank their graduates, give everyone honors, and still maintain some integrity overall.

Example: Both students A & B have 3.5 GPAs. However, the adcoms will see that student A scored over the mean in 18 classes and under in 12, while student B scored over the mean in 27 classes and under in only 3. It will be clear that B is the stronger student.

In the end though, I agree with many posters that believe adcoms know what a 3.5 really means at most schools. :)
 
About the Ads

ewing

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 26, 2003
446
0
In da house!
Status (Visible)
I think that the above posters are right: Harvard kids are special and it is silly to make them all fit to a 2.0 curve. In fact, I think that since Harvard kids are so uniquely talented and since each one is a superstar (c.f. the administration's explanation why it doesn't give merit-based aid: "everyone would qualify") Harvard should drop the grading system entirely. Better yet, they should adopt some system that is incomprehensible to anyone who isn't from Harvard or used to seeing their transcripts (like the J-T MCAT essay scoring system) so no one will ever try to scale academic performance at Harvard to academic performance at all of those other schools that use the pedestrian 4.0 scale.

Then, they could all go to P&S and we wouldn't have to deal with them.

Just my $.02

EDIT: As an example of Harvard undergrads' superiority, I quote in its entirety a paragraph from one of the Crimson articles linked by the OP. This was written by a staff writer and edited by about half a dozen Harvard undergraduates.

That preponderance of high grades has Faculty members like Baird Professor grade of ?A? is supposed to represent extraordinary distinction,? Feldman said. ?According to the most recent results, we?re giving 24 percent of our students A?s [after correcting for pass/fail grades]. That?s a strange distinction.?
 

meanderson

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2003
681
0
Status (Visible)
Originally posted by yeeester
just something to think about:

there are people who get into harvard or other ivies and dont go, but there aren't that many of them. harvard's matriculation rate for accepted applicants is somewhere around 80% if i remember correctly. that adds up to 400 kids a year who got in to harvard and chose to go elsewhere. so not many people chose the "get into ivies and go to state u" option.

But there are a ton of kids who could have gotten into non-top 10 US news schools and chose not to apply. We all know that applying to college is not like applying to med school.....you don't apply to 20 different colleges, hoping to get in 3 or 4.

Students who apply to harvard, for the most part, are people who have already made the decision that they would like to go there(or another US news top 10 school). They've already chosen harvard over their state schools or other private schools they are very likely to recieve big scholarships from.
 

thewebthsp

Shoobeedoowap
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2002
1,416
1
home.achilles.net
Status (Visible)
Well one option is to expand the grading system from A-F to 1-10 or 1-12 or something and basically have 7-9 be the "A-/A" and 10 be the top person in the class and 11, 12 maybe the best person in 10-20 years in the class. And have caps on the % of people getting 10+. Then you could reconvert the grade back to a 4.0 scale.

Another option for large classes (statistically signifcant number == 40+) is to just put the %tile rank per student, assuming a gaussian distribution. If that doesn't happen, the professor obviously should "tie" groups of students in a particular quartile or decile. This would work best in a science/engineering class.

Smaller classes might do with getting rid of specific grades altogether and just having H/HP/P/U/F. H= 4, HP = 3.5, P = 3. C+ or below could be U (make it a 2.3). There's no need to give grades below 2.3 in small classes unless utterly failed, I think. F is F.

Just some ideas to combat grade inflation. Alternatively having students write projects/papers and have them submit to a circuit of student journals/presentations instead of grades might be a better option. Sure it'd be harder but I think it would be more informative than a grade. I'd also do away with most tests and stick to required daily homework, and a final. That way there's less stress plus you work on the material every day.

Btw -- Hopkins and UChicago have moderate grade inflation. Both schools have an avg. gpa of 3.3. MIT and Caltech have less inflation. Sewanee (Univ. of the South), Cooper Union and Reed have some of the most stringent requirements on this earth.
 

Downhill Racer

Midnight Skier
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 13, 2002
114
0
Status (Visible)
grade inflation, Harvard bashing... what's next in the cycle.. another AA thread... this application cycle has been quite long.

I really dont have much to add here... perhaps people can find the equivalent grade inflation in medschools... there have been claims of grade inflation during clinicals on particular rotations/attendings, maybe P/F curriculum is a PC form of grade inflation, and ofcourse those match lists we all drool over.
 

trauma_junky

12 step pre-med rehab
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2003
1,141
2
44
Status (Visible)
Originally posted by Nuel
What if the students at Harvard are generally very motivated individuals relative to students at other colleges? I think this would weaken the article's argument.

Having a proff that went to Harvard and told me that the school he is teaching at is 100X Harder than harvard is unreal. Yale is the same way apparently. I found an article years ago about a new prof at Yale that was warned for giving a C.

Rediculous!
 

trauma_junky

12 step pre-med rehab
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2003
1,141
2
44
Status (Visible)
Originally posted by ewing
I think that the above posters are right: Harvard kids are special and it is silly to make them all fit to a 2.0 curve. In fact, I think that since Harvard kids are so uniquely talented and since each one is a superstar (c.f. the administration's explanation why it doesn't give merit-based aid: "everyone would qualify") Harvard should drop the grading system entirely. Better yet, they should adopt some system that is incomprehensible to anyone who isn't from Harvard or used to seeing their transcripts (like the J-T MCAT essay scoring system) so no one will ever try to scale academic performance at Harvard to academic performance at all of those other schools that use the pedestrian 4.0 scale.

Then, they could all go to P&S and we wouldn't have to deal with them.

Just my $.02

EDIT: As an example of Harvard undergrads' superiority, I quote in its entirety a paragraph from one of the Crimson articles linked by the OP. This was written by a staff writer and edited by about half a dozen Harvard undergraduates.

That preponderance of high grades has Faculty members like Baird Professor grade of ?A? is supposed to represent extraordinary distinction,? Feldman said. ?According to the most recent results, we?re giving 24 percent of our students A?s [after correcting for pass/fail grades]. That?s a strange distinction.?

Yea! Legacy makes one special! Should we bring up devine right and English Royal Right!
 

jhrugger

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2003
185
0
Charleston, SC
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
warned for getting a C?? At Hopkins, our physics teacher was warned only when he failed yes, 40% of his class. fail. F. do not pass go. and that was just a warning. he improved to failing 30% the next year, and that was cause for his not being allowed to teach anymore. he is now in charge only of physics I and II labs, where he can do less damage.

i guess there is some invisible balance between being a jerk teacher who fails his class and a feeble teacher who can't give bellow an A-. perhaps the administration has more to do with it than the teacher. who knows.
 

Rose122

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 17, 2003
76
2
Status (Visible)
At my school, the astronomy professor was fired for giving too many As. His contention was that everyone that mastered the material deserved an A. Therefore, he neglected the grading curve and his employment was terminated.

PS. This is inconsequential and I didn't even make a value judgement.
 

Gleevec

Peter, those are Cheerios
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2002
4,129
9
Status (Visible)
Are you sure he was a professor (tenure track?). I couldnt imagine a school firing a professor for giving too many A's. Lest we forget, some elite universities (even Harvard, who could easily recruit an equally talented professor to take his/her place) won't even fire professors for blantant plagiarism. Firing a prof for grade inflation seems a bit extreme, are you sure s/he wasn't just an instructor?

Originally posted by Rose122
At my school, the astronomy professor was fired for giving too many As. His contention was that everyone that mastered the material deserved an A. Therefore, he neglected the grading curve and his employment was terminated.

PS. This is inconsequential and I didn't even make a value judgement.
 

peterockduke

Constipation Nation!
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2003
333
4
Status (Visible)
Originally posted by Gleevec
Oh really? What is Harvard's MCAT average for their ugrads?

Good question.
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=86183&highlight=average+mcat

This is accepted students which is always a very high %(like 90), I think the average for applied is a 34. Dr. Moo has those numbers.

Harvard 34
Umich 27
FSU 25
LSU 24
MIT 31

If med schools don't want to weigh gpa's from different ugrads massively then I am all for grade inflation. What I don't like is the idea of being at a school like Harvard and knowing that my classmate and I both got "A's" when our grades were really very different. Oh well.
 

Gleevec

Peter, those are Cheerios
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2002
4,129
9
Status (Visible)
I think that thread is comparing apples and oranges for some schools. Some of those stats are for accepted students, and some for all students that apply. I think its important to distinguish between those before making any conclusions. I would be interested to see the stats for all applicants moreso, since I feel that is more accurate of the overall premed body than simply those who were accepted. Unfortunately, most statistics are for accepted students only, and as some SDNers know, some schools are pretty adamant about discouraging "lower-tier" applicants from applying while others are willing to allow them a shot, so its kinda unequal in that regard as well.
 

JohnHolmes

Large Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 30, 2003
3,207
3
39
Status (Visible)
Originally posted by Gleevec
Oh really? What is Harvard's MCAT average for their ugrads?

Rumor has it that its a 33. Its hard to gauge this, easier to gauge an avg LSAT for each school as well as quartiles because the LSAT keeps track of those things and actually LETS YOU KNOW where you stand to your school applying this year and all years past in terms of GPA and LSAT scores.

I think kokonut made some pretty substantive points. There is good amount of snobbery from Ivys, there is a good amount of snobbery AMONG ivy's (Ive heard some of the ranting, its absurd), and there are some mad brilliant people at state schools, either cause they wanted or needed to stay close to home, it was a great state college or financial reasons, even "other" reasons. Maybe they just drew straws about where to go to school and state u came up?

Harvard has some impressive numbers. This may draw some ire, but I would have a hard time, even with all the inflation, putting a 3.95 at harvard and a 3.95 from state u in the same boat. Even if state u had 0 inflation, and the avg gpa was a 2.9 there.

Keep in mind, I go to state u.

CCW
 

Fermata

Hold me.
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2003
6,617
13
Vale of Humility Between Two Mountains of Conceit
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Originally posted by Cooper_Wriston


Harvard has some impressive numbers. This may draw some ire, but I would have a hard time, even with all the inflation, putting a 3.95 at harvard and a 3.95 from state u in the same boat. Even if state u had 0 inflation, and the avg gpa was a 2.9 there.

Keep in mind, I go to state u.

CCW

This coming from the man with a 43R on the MCAT and a 3.99 GPA. :laugh: :laugh:

How's the weather up there Coops? A friend at W&M told me it skipped over them.
 
About the Ads
This thread is more than 17 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.