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Class of 2068: 4,000 Valedictorians

We’ve already written at some length about how the number of valedictorians is increasing each year: the last sub-4.0 GPA valedictorian was in 2003; this past Commencement saw five valedictorians with perfect GPA’s.

However if you look at the astoundingly tight regression line on a chart that was given to the faculty as part of a discussion about grade inflation, it appears that 55 years from now the average grade at the College will be an A. Therefore, all students will be tied with the best grades in the class.

Grade Inflation Regression.jpg

Now that’s equal opportunity. Everyone can be a valedictorian.

Addendum: Here’s an example of a time when an A really meant something: the History 35 (“Colonial America”) class that Phil Hanlon ‘77 took with Professor Jere Daniell ‘55 in the fall of 1975. Look closely: out of 42 students, only three received an A grade (including Phil!), five earned A-, and a total of fourteen students were given a C+/C/C-.

Daniell Hanlon History 35.jpg

Professor Daniell was a tough grader. His average grade in History 35 was just below a B (2.85 to be precise). Two years later, he only gave Phil a B in History 36, in which Phil wrote an independent research project on Gouverneur Morris, the “Penman of the Constitution,” who gave his name to Hanlon’s hometown of Gouverneur in upstate New York.

I’ll bet that nobody’s parents called the Dean to complain about the unfairness of their child’s grade in either course.


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