How does Princeton propose to stop grade inflation? By “putting a limit on the number of “A” grades academic units can reward.”
Let’s think about this.
Most semesters I have about four students per class who make As. That’s out of 25 students to start. I’m a conservative grader and require lots of work in my classes. So someone like me teaching at Princeton would probably get all the As to give away that I could usually use.
But let’s say that one semester I had twelve students who were really working hard, doing all the work, doing it well, getting help before class, and they all ended up with As. Unfortunately, my four As wouldn’t help me there, because I would have eight students who couldn’t get As.
I understand the point. Lots of people give As way too easily. I was required at the school where I taught full time to curve my final grades by eight points because too many people were doing poorly in my classes. So I’ve definitely seen what happens when you have a limit on grades, poor or good.
I think I could see limiting As, if I could hoard them. Say I get six As per semester per class. I usually use four. But then one semester the twelve folks show up and I use up my hoarded As. That’d be okay. What if the twelve come the first semester? Then we’re all hosed.