In 2004 the Princeton faculty decided enough is enough. Runaway grade inflation had devalued grades at Princeton. The faculty set the following goal:
"A’s shall account for less than 35 percent of the grades given in undergraduate courses and less than 55 percent of the grades given in junior and senior independent work."
On Monday following a Princeton faculty meeting, Dean of the College Nancy Malkiel proudly issued the following statement on behalf of the Faculty Committee on Grading:
"In 2004-07, A’s (A+, A, A-) accounted for 40.6 percent of grades in undergraduate courses, down from 47.0 percent in 2001-04. In humanities departments, A’s accounted for 45.9 percent of the grades in undergraduate courses in 2004-07, down from 55.5 percent in 2001-04. In the social sciences, there were 37.6 percent A grades in 2004-07, down from 43.3 percent in the previous three years. In the natural sciences, there were 35.7 percent A grades in 2004-07, compared to 37.2 percent in 2001-04. In engineering, the figures were 42.1 percent A’s in 2004-07, down from 50.2 percent in the previous three years. "
The statement noted that students are not avoiding the departments in greater compliance with the new policies.
Give Princeton a gold star. it will be interesting to see if other Ivy League schools follow suit.