According to a recent survey 45-55% of grades given at Ivy League college are A’s. From my own experiences polling friends at other schools the situation is not much different at other schools (it might even be worse). If schools are going to hand out A’s like this why don’t they just go to pass/fail? I think schools need to set a forced curve (like most top law schools) so grades can have meaning again. I know it might be hard on a lot of students who are used to getting top marks their whole career but grades need to mean something. I don’t care where the curve is set. Schools can make it a C, B-, B, or whatever they want. The curve can also create an environment that is too competitive, but students are always going to be competing with each other. However, they have to force professors to stick to the curve. This will allow employers and graduate schools to have a better understanding of the performance of students.
Another benefit would be uniformity in grading policies by professors. As it stands now student X and student Y can take the same class from different professors and receive very different grades for a similar performance. It would be much better to use a curve that will be uniform throughout the department.
I know this may not work as well in some of the smaller classes. I had a class in college with only two other students. Situations like this might cause problems, but schools can give professors better guidelines on grading and use departmental curves.
Finally, I don’t think the curve should be used to force students to get a failing grade or force a certain number of students to “flunk out”.
So, what does everyone think? Should colleges begin to use forced curves?