Adjusting for Grade Inflation

As an example of adjustments for grade inflation, the L.A. Times (Grading the Grades: All A's Are Not Created Equal, 7/16/97) reported on how UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law re-formulated the G.P.A.'s (Grade Point Average) of student applicants. Under the Boalt formula, each college is ranked according to how its students perform on the standardized law board exam, the LSAT, and how common a certain G.P.A. is at that school.

Students from schools ranked 79 and above have points added to their G.P.A.'s. Those from schools ranked 72 to 78.9 get no adjustment. Those whose school ranked 71.9 and below have their G.P.A.'s lowered a bit.

Below is the table of colleges and their rankings. Schools which get an upward adjustment to grades are in red print. Those which get a downward adjustment are in bold blue print. Schools which get no adjustment are in black italic.

Is this fair? The point adjustment formula is one point of contention in a complaint filed recently by civil rights group and now being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education. These groups allege that the University of California's admission policies are discrimatory because added weight is given to grades from elite Eastern colleges, such as top-ranked Swathmore. But grades from most Cal State campuses and from predominantly black schools, such as Howard University, are devalued.

Is this fair? What about fairness to the students who attend harder schools? Should their G.P.A.'s be weighted equally with students who get A's and B's for effort rather than learning. How can Cal State campuses be considered as good as other schools when their students are so ill-prepared that more than half of them need remediation in math and English? Can a year of remediation make up for what these students should have had in the 12 years prior to their enrollment in college?

College

Rank

College

Rank

College

Rank

College

Rank

College

Rank

American 71.0 Cal Poly SLO 74.5 Howard 57.5 Oregon 73.0 Texas 78.0
Amherst 84.5 Carleton 88.0 Illinois 78.0 Pacific 69.5 Trinity U. 77.5
Arizona 71.0 Catholic U. 69.5 Indiana 72.5 Pennsylvania 83.0 Tufts 83.5
Arizona St. 69.5 Chicago 87.0 Iowa 73.5 Penn State 74.0 UC Berkeley 78.5
Barnard 80.5 CCNY 59.0 J. Hopkins 87.5 Pepperdine 67.0 UC Davis 75.5
Bates 85.5 Clrmt. McK. 82.5 Kansas 70.0 Pomona 85.0 UC Irvine 73.0
Boston College 77.0 Colby 81.5 Loyola Mary. 71.0 Princeton 86.0 UCLA 75.5
Boston University 74.5 Colgate 88.0 Maryland 71.0 Purdue 73.5 UC Riverside 68.5
Bowdoin 83.5 Colorado 75.0 Massachusetts 74.0 Reed 84.5 UC S. Diego 78.5
Brandeis 82.0 Columbia 80.5 Miami 68.0 Rice 83.0 UC S. Barbara 77.0
BYU 73.0 Cornell 86.5 Michigan 81.5 Rochester 79.0 USC 70.0
Brown 80.0 Dartmouth 87.0 Michigan St. 75.0 St. Mary's 61.5 Utah 68.5
Bryn Mawr 83.0 Denver 63.5 Middlebury 86.0 San Diego 68.0 Virginia 85.0
CS Chico 68.5 Duke 88.5 Mills 71.5 San Francisco 57.5 Washington 76.5
CS Fresno 62.5 Emory 79.5 Minnesota 73.0 Santa Clara 76.0 Wisconsin 77.0
CS Fullerton 63.0 Florida 76.5 MIT 85.5 Smith 80.0 Vanderbilt 84.5
CS Hayward 63.0 Fordham 70.5 New Mexico 68.0 SMU 73.5 Vassar 83.5
CS Long Beach 63.0 Georgetown 80.0 NYU 72.0 Stanford 80.5 Wash. U. 81.0
CS LA 58.5 Geo. Wash. 75.5 N. Carolina 79.5 SUNY Albany 73.5 Wellesley 80.0
CS Northridge 67.0 Hamilton 83.0 Northwestern 82.0 SUNY Bing 78.0 Wesleyan 87.0
CS Sacramento 65.0 Harvard 86.5 Notre Dame 81.5 SUNY Buff 72.0 Whitman C. 79.5
CS San Diego 69.5 Haverford 85.0 Oberlin 83.0 SUNY Stony 72.0 Wm & Mary 84.5
CS San Fran. 66.0 Hawaii 64.5 Ohio State 73.0 Swarthmore 89.5 Williams 89.0
CS San Jose 63.0 Hofstra 69.0 Oklahoma 69.5 Syracuse 70.0 Yale 82.5