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. 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.

    • @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!

      It’s Global Grade Warming!

    • 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. 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. 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.

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