Tyler Durden's picture

While the BLS may be searching far and wide for evidence of hedonically-adjusted "core" inflation, and not finding it anywhere (expect in assets, housing prices, food and energy, but apparently all America buys every day are LCD TVs and iPads), one place where not even the BLS can hide what is clear and present "inflation" is college grade point averages, and especially grades for humanities courses, where as the saying goes pretty much everyone is "above average." And, as JPM adds, "Soon, colleges will have to “turn the dial up to 11” or else everyone will have the maximum GPA." Well, in a society where the push is to make everyone equal, it would only be fair for everyone to get the exact same perfect grades...

Some perspective from Michael Cembalest:

In Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon, “the women are strong, the men are good-looking and all the children are above average”. Regarding US private and public universities, Keillor got the last part right. As shown below, the mean grade point average at US private and public schools has been increasing at a steady pace since 1970. Soon, colleges will have to “turn the dial up to 11” or else everyone will have the maximum GPA. As per the study from which the data is sourced, the 1960’s jump took place when the purpose of a GPA changed from being a motivator for students to being a measure used for external evaluation. GPA increases since 1970 are seen as a by-product of student evaluations of teachers (i.e., tough-grading teachers get bad evaluations, and eventually become extinct). Humanities courses have seen the highest grade inflation. Lower grades in science and engineering apparently discourage some students from pursuing them; do not let that affect you.

If it seems like people put too much importance on GPA, I would agree. What you learn is more important than what grades you get. However, you should also be aware of the realities of the job market. In the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2013 Survey, GPA importance hit an all-time high: 78% of employers screen candidates based on grade point averages.

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ParkAveFlasher's picture

I totally nailed my lesbian-influenced honduran basket-weaving-for-the-handicapped class.  Would that skew the averages?

ebworthen's picture

Thought you were going to say:

"I totally nailed my lesbian-influenced honduran basket-weaving-for-the-handicapped professor."

Either way if you got an "A" I'm sure you deserved it ;-)

Stackers's picture

How long before colleges start lowering standards to advertise higher average GPA's to wanna be enrollees ?

financial apocalyptic contagion's picture

thats been going on forever at top bschools, % recruited on-campus is everything

my gpa was a 2.4 im now an analyst for mckinsey in strategy consulting

fuck gpa's interviews seperate the boys from the men

Bobbyrib's picture

Interviews..where the bullshitters put on a show. How about your performance separating the men from the boys? If you think being able to bullshit well separates you from the "boys" you should run for CONgress.

Thomas's picture

From 33 years of experience, I would say that the preparation of kids coming in as freshman is way down. Their willingness to bust their butts is way down. By way of example, many have noticed that in the monster courses, the kids barely take notes anymore. It's a classic, "if I know how to find the answer why do I need to know the answer?" The answer to this rhetorical question is twofold: (1) you need an operating system--a collection of knowledge--to think with, and (2) you need to emerse, which means busting your chops.

SafelyGraze's picture

my gpa was an one point nine, im now a analyst for goalman sach in over seas develipment

forget what ever you thaught re: gpa avereges, beacase its the interview's ultamatley seperate the boys from the men


economics9698's picture

I estimate I lost a good 0.5 off my GPA because I worked 40-80 hours a week while going to school. 

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

That's going into your permanent record.

Canoe Driver's picture

Amen to that. Most of us ignore it, but if we were at all a fair society, GPA and SAT scores would be adjusted statistically to compensate for financial advantage and disadvantage, not for race. These numbers correlate extremely well with family wealth, but we developed a racial quota system instead. Why? Obviously, because the persons making the call were wealthy.

itstippy's picture


There are too many brainless aquatic plants barely keeping their heads above water in college as it is.  Don't encourage them; let 'em drown.

twh99's picture

You have to qualify that.  There is certainly some information you need to know from memory, but there is also a significant amount of information that all you need to know is how to access it and "apply" it.


Being a computer programmer would teach you that very quickly.  There were often many situations where you did not know the exact syntax or form of a particular command, but you knew that it existed and knew where it was and how to use it.

Lost My Shorts's picture

Grade inflation is just the other side of cost inflation.  If they are getting it free, you can nail them to the curve.  But if they are paying $50K per year, like duh, the customer expects some serious service for that sort of cash.  You ever heard that old saying, "the customer is always right"???

However, all the buzz now is that GPA is no longer taken seriously by smart employers (unless outlier on the low side).  As always with inflation, the inflated medium ends up worthless.

AngelEyes00's picture

So many people I know have kids getting straight A's.  How can so many students be getting straight A's?  I don't even see these other people's kids studying or talking about their courses.  They all play video games and get taken out to dinner several nights a week.  How are they getting A's?  When I went to school in the 70 's only a handful of kids in the whole school got straight A's.  But now it's as common as brushing teeth.

Back then there was no internet and an A for a project needed to be 3 times longer than was required and have footnotes, so that meant combing the library.  You also had to hand write it, which meant re-writing it to make it clean and legible.  There were no programs to check spelling or grammer.  I mean you really had to kick ass to get an A, and especially straight A's.  The straight A students I knew spent 4-6 hours a day doing homework, including weekends. 



CuriousPasserby's picture

Depends on the job. For hiring someone to write code, interviews are useless. For car salesmen and wait staff, interviews are important.

max2205's picture

You should see military officer annual ratings...cookie cutter

Canoe Driver's picture

True, but most interviews are still used to gather irrelevant information about the applicant, often illegally. For example, is she hot? Is he/she black? Would I like to have lunch with this person? Are they like me? Will they "fit in?"

Interviews result in very homogenous work "teams," and racism and sexism are still rampant.

knukles's picture

What are we to expect?

Bastions of higher "learning" (my ass, more rote) which fiercely enable the distribution of socialist dogma are to be expected to give other than equal grades to all students, regardless of any considerations whatsoever?

Come on....


noless's picture

I will recite how my professor in freshman year of college plagiarised my work until the day i die. Wandering into a lecture down the coast only to hear my words. I have no respect for higher education in America.

And yes, I'm a drop out.

But my logic doesn't work because raysis.

At least we got more women on campus this year than last though right? 50/50s nice, but why not shoot for more?

But don't question that because then you went get laid.

Canoe Driver's picture

Men prefer to hire women, for obvious reasons, and women prefer to hire women, for other obvious reasons, and the same logic applies in colleges. So, once women left the home, they were bound to take over, at least until, with their help, the entire thing collapses.

VD's picture

GPAs up, SAT scores down. makes perfect sense.

ebworthen's picture

I was chided by administration for giving students who couldn't write coherent sentences C's - because it would affect their scholarships and loans.

ParkAveFlasher's picture

That's why "grading on a curve" was invented, Prof. Ebworthen.

insanelysane's picture

So if you are a professor at a med school and none of the class can perform a surgery correctly but some are closer than others you just grade on the curve, 4's for the ones that didn't kill the patient, 3's for the one's that the patient passed away from complications, 2's for the ones that the patient died during surgery, and 1's for the ones that passed out during the surgery.

twh99's picture

No you are wrong.  Grading on a curve was invented by lazy or cowardly professors who didn't want to define what the minimum amount of knowledge was necessary to earn a particular grade.  They figured that grading on a curve would do all the work for them.

Anusocracy's picture

Flunk them all.

Let God sort them out.

css1971's picture

You gave a passing grade to students who couldn't put a coherent sentence together?

Thomas's picture

"nuffin" is very funny.

AngelEyes00's picture

With a pic like that maybe you should change your name from Thomas to Tiffany.

Kayman's picture

Guest Post: What's Real? What's Fake?

 "Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/16/2013 - 16:30 We want to believe the fake unemployment rate of 7% rather than the real rate of 14+% because the officially sanctioned forgery feeds our belief that our bloated, corrupt Empire of Debt is sustainable, fair and working well. To accept that we've been bamboozled, ripped off, taken advantage of and ultimately cheated out of an authentic economy and life by swindlers is too painful."

Higher and Higher Education doing its part in supporting the Fake economy; where a C- becomes and A+ on the shifting Bell curve.

FreedomGuy's picture

You get an "A" in foreign language. Ebonics!

darteaus's picture

So what?  His school beat your school in basketball AND football.

FreedomGuy's picture

I like the bumper stickers that say, "My terrier is smarter than your honor student."

Might soon turn out to be true.

ebworthen's picture

Yeah, shameful I know, but it was the only way to keep the job.

Besides, I was the end of the line for them; they had already been passed through every grade and graduated High School so who was I to tell them they couldn't spell or write?

SilverRhino's picture

The fucking instructor??  

ebworthen's picture

There was red pen all over their paper, and I spent hours and hours trying to help them, but it just hurt their feelings.

HardAssets's picture

A lot of kids and their parents don't want to know the truth.

They think the kids are getting an 'education' because their school districts spend a lot of money on buildings and sports facilities. Besides, - little Johnny or Janey gets 'good grades'.

I went to a lot of high school and college graduation ceremonies over the last couple of years. The kids I spoke with were nice, but it was obvious that they hadn't learned a damned thing in 'school'.

One college kid graduated and was interviewing with some big six bank. They knew nothing about the real nature of the bailouts, or Austrian economics, or business cycles, or that said bank they were interviewing with was caught in robo-signing mortgage fraud and money laundering for narcotics cartels. wft do they teach them in the business dept anyway ?

What is disturbing is that after 12-16 years of 'schooling' the natural curiosity and creativity of kids is squeezed out of them. They do rote memorization and mindless follow-the-numbers tasks, but no real critical thinking.

fallout11's picture

....and is thus excellent preparation for their future roles as worker drones in the crony-capitalist corporate world, or in government. Exactly as it was intended.

Bobbyrib's picture

It's either that or get fired. I'm going to guess it was usually people who use english as a first language and people who use "street"
as a first language.

Canoe Driver's picture

In effect, making education just another business.

giggler321's picture

How long before they all have enough education to realise what is going on?

ncdirtdigger's picture

I got an A++++ in my Negrostudies class just for wearing an Obama, Yes We Can shirt to class. YeeefuckingHaw!

Bay of Pigs's picture

So how come so many young people can't spell, write or communicate verbally very well?

Most of them would struggle to pass Bonehead English 101 back when I was in school.

Bobbyrib's picture

While English is argued to be the toughest language to learn (by some), I have to ask what your thoughts are when you meet the average person?

Caveman93's picture

It's easily done...here's how!

1) Open Book Exams

2) Tests are "closed book" taken online from home.

3) Curve like mad

4) Group grades are shared. Best person gives the 100 to the group. Saw it happen today.


Any questions?


FYI- I saw three people this year fail consecutive open-book exams. That comprehension shit is tough mates!

pvzh's picture

So, what had happen in US between 1956 and 1963 when these curves started to take off? Some kind of "no child left behind policy"?