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Princeton Weighs 'Grade Inflation' Plan
Thu Apr 8, 8:54 AM ET

PRINCETON, N.J. - Earning high marks at Princeton University may soon be a tougher task.

Faculty members and school officials are reviewing proposed changes to the university's grading system that would limit the number of A's that professors could award. The goal of the proposal made public this week is to lower the number of A's from the current 46 percent to 35 percent for undergraduate courses.

"Curbing grade inflation will require more aggressive steps than we have taken," said Nancy Weiss Malkiel, dean of Princeton's undergraduate college. She sent the proposal to faculty members on Tuesday, and they are due to vote on the proposal later this month.

According to the proposal, grades could vary class by class, but each department would be expected to try to meet the limit on A's. It also would allow faculty members to see the grades for every department.

In her memo, Malkiel said that 65 percent of the graduating seniors in Princeton's class of 2002 had grade-point averages of B-plus or better, and fewer than 5 percent fell below B-minus. A student with a straight C average, she said, stood second to last.

Malkiel said several students have supported the plan, which has been under development for several years, but she expects some opposition to the proposal from faculty members.

"I know from our department chairs that they have some colleagues who say, 'No one is going to tell me how to grade,'" she told The New York Times.
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