# The grading curve at Harvard University

A friend was considering enrolling his high schoolers in a Harvard economics class. It costs a modest \$7,000 per student. What does one receive in return? An A or a B, unless one happens to be in the bottom 10th percentile (source):

(The idea of grading on a curve is anathema to flight instructors, incidentally. At least in theory, everyone should be able to achieve proficiency and graduate with a decent grade. If everyone in a class meets the A standard, why can’t everyone in the class receive an A?)

#### 6 thoughts on “The grading curve at Harvard University”

1. Paul says:

The course is good marketing for Harvard.

“The idea of grading on a curve is anathema to flight instructors, incidentally.

Thermodynamics and Electromagnetics can also be graded on a curve, depending on supply / demand of the students in the class.

• Alex says:

@Paul: I think from this example we can see that Harvard practices its own blend of “Grading Thermodynamics” – it artificially puffs a lot of heat into a 44th Percentile result so that scores as a B, thus allowing the recipient – who is actually a stone-cold failure, to cast a much warmer glow onto their academic record!

• Alex says:

And with just a 10th Percentile result, which should count as “blood oxygen well below normal as is your IQ” someone can walk away with a B- and then smoke some healing marijuana. But that grade is from Harvard – and as Frasier Crane once famously quipped (I’m paraphrasing): “When they’re wrong, the world makes a little less sense!” Lol.

2. Anonymous says:

Students should be graded on how well they learn the material, not ranked against each other. The engineering school I attended used a bell-shaped curve with grades 1-9 (ie: 50% get a 5 or below, 50% a 6 or above, <5% 9), all relative to each others test scores. It led to hyper-competitiveness, lack of team work, and cheating.

3. Anonymous says:

Extraordinary. So if one wants a guaranteed A, one must seek out the course with the dumbest people. It seems that people are trained in silly rat race metrics from an early age on.

4. Toucan Sam says:

This is racist. It does not take into account skin color!