Thursday, August 18, 2011

Median Grades at Cornell by Department


Cornell -- "In 1996 the Cornell University Registrar began publishing online median grade reports — an indication of the grades awarded in all undergraduate courses at Cornell. The move came in preparation for a much larger transition: the publishing of median course grades on Cornell transcripts. This year's seniors, the Class of 2012, will be the first class where all students will receive transcripts with these grades listed.

This interactive infographic transforms the Fall 2009 Median Grade Report into a visual form you can explore and manipulate."

MP: The graphic above shows median grades for courses in three departments at Cornell: Economics, Education and Math.  Specifically, it shows the percentage of courses in each department with a median grade of A: Economics (13.6%), Education (77.8%) and Math (12.9%).  Note also that 100% of Education courses have a median grade of either A (77.8%) or A- (22.2%), whereas for Economics there's a wider distribution of median grades: A (13.6%), A- (18.2%), B+ (50%) and B- (18.2%).  For math the breakdown is: A+ (3.2%), A (12.9%), A- (16.1%), B+ (41.9%), B (22.6%) and B- (3.2%).  

As Walter Williams reminds us "Schools of education, either graduate or undergraduate, represent the academic slums of most any university."  And yet education majors frequently graduate with some of the highest GPAs in the university, as these data confirm.  Maybe that's why grade inflation is now also a problem in high schools (see chart below)? 


HT: Craig Newmark

15 Comments:

At 8/19/2011 3:14 AM, OpenID American Delight said...

Aw, but me edyoocayshun degree won't look so good if u show erybody whatma classmates got. Stoopid Cornell.

 
At 8/19/2011 6:47 AM, Blogger Frozen in the North said...

In the mid 80s at the London School of Economics, prof announced in the first lecture that no one had gotten an "A" since 1976 (almost 9 years earlier). There was shocked silence in the class.

Some would say that the LSE had "negative" grade inflation. When you consider that a 2.1 (upper second) was so easy to achieve at Oxbridge colleges...

 
At 8/19/2011 7:54 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

3.0 is the new 2.0.

2.0 is the new fail.

 
At 8/19/2011 9:51 AM, Blogger Alan said...

I went to Cornell, and they didn't have a school of education back then. Is this account perhaps a fraud?

 
At 8/19/2011 9:56 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Cornell has a department of education:

http://education.cornell.edu/

 
At 8/19/2011 10:09 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Cornell to close School of Education as part of "Reimanging Cornell".

The department of education is in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, at Cornell.

 
At 8/19/2011 10:56 AM, Blogger NormanB said...

Lets take a guess: What percentage of the education faculty is Liberal/Democratic?

 
At 8/19/2011 11:49 AM, Blogger juandos said...

There are a bunch of courses of questionable value being carried at Cornell...

Wouldn't the tuition be lower if they got rid of that sizable chunk useless but politically correct courses?

 
At 8/19/2011 2:24 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Wouldn't the tuition be lower if they got rid of that sizable chunk useless but politically correct courses?"

No one that goes to Cornell complains about the cost of tuition. Cornell is actually way too cheap for what it offers.

Sometimes we forget that entities don't compete simply on the bases of cost...but also quality.

Of course, if you're one of those that goes to Cornell to study education, than you're a sucker. And thats your problem, after all (I have a friend who went for an education masters at Columbia! Total dumba**)

 
At 8/19/2011 2:29 PM, Blogger AIG said...

As for grade inflation, its not clear that this is what is happening at Cornell (or elsewhere). Education is many times easier than Econ or math. If we assume that students of relatively comparable abilities are in all three majors (assuming similar acceptance criteria for Cornell students), you'd expect that those taking education classes would get much higher grades.

But this isn't grade inflation.

We're making the mistake of assuming that employers think that a 4.0 in education is equivalent to a 4.0 in math. They don't make that mistake; after all someone graduating from Cornell with an Econ or math degree is going to make lots more money than someone graduating with an education degree 4.0 GPA.

 
At 8/19/2011 6:57 PM, Blogger Craig said...

The foolishness is that schools of education exist in the first place. They are little more than job-generators for lazy academics. A one semester course in classroom organization and lesson planning should be enough to qualify any student with a Bachelor's Degree to teach school.

 
At 8/19/2011 8:18 PM, Blogger Stephen Purpura said...

(1) I think juandos pointed to Cornell College which isn't the same as Cornell University (the Cornell being discussed in the post).

(2) As one of the people grading at Cornell University, I can tell that you that the private employers that hire our students almost always get it right, regardless of the grading signals that we send. However, education/academia values good grades (I would argue irrationally), so Cornell's ed course instructors may be responding to institutional demand.

 
At 8/21/2011 12:10 PM, Blogger Munier Salem said...

The disparity in difficulty across departments is a valid point (A+ in Math *is* very different than education) but it involves qualifiers:

first, there is more spread in large, technical classes, where a bell curve appears, more often than not, and every grade, from F to A+ is assigned. In contrast, a small English class may see no Fs, and also no As. It's much more stochastic in nature.

Second, the most important metric would be 100/200/300 level classes with more than 100 students. That's why I included the second page of the graphic. If you look there, you see that science and engineering programs are uniformly rigorous in the first two years, with grades rising in upper level, smaller courses, as people sort into specialties.

Third, Education and Math are both tiny departments at Cornell. More valid would be to look at Econ, English, Government, Communications, Applied Economics & Management, and various large engineering programs (ECE, MSE, MECHE, CHEME). In this light, the conclusion is clear: sciences grade harder.

Finally, it's shocking and fun to note the School of Hotel Administration grades quite rigorously. This defied most students' expectations.

 
At 8/21/2011 12:12 PM, Blogger Munier Salem said...

*Another clarification, by "tiny" I mean those departments enroll few undergraduate majors.

 
At 9/07/2011 9:39 AM, Blogger misterjosh said...

I'm surprised that nobody has commented on the rude manners of the Math department - giving the middle finger to everybody like that.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home