Holy Harvard Hoohah, Batman!

See, stuff like this is why I think sending your kids to Harvard is silly.

“At a closed meeting, the faculty voted in favor of two sweeping changes. First, Harvard will switch from an idiosyncratic 15-point grading scale to the more conventional scale in which a 4.0 is an A and a zero is an F. The change will narrow the difference between an A-minus and a B-plus, which the faculty hopes will make a B more palatable. Second, Harvard will limit the number of students allowed to graduate with honors to 60 percent of a class. Nearly 90 percent of the students in Harvard’s class of 2001 graduated with some form of honors.”

Later in the story … “But in a 10-page report recommending the changes, Ms. Pedersen and two other deans openly agonized that the changes could backfire. In putting a cap on the number of students permitted to earn honors, they fretted, they might discourage students from taking intellectual risks like writing a senior thesis or taking a challenging course.”

Come on … if you’re in college to learn, you’re going to take a good, hard class regardless. If you’re in college for a piece of paper, it’ll be evident to your employer no matter whether or not your pretty piece of sheepskin has cum laude on it or not.

Freaking Harvard.


  1. The ECE labs have a very strange behavior. The smaller the amount of credit you get, the harder and more time consuming it will be. Take the OS lab; Easily the hardest lab in CPE and zippo credit.

  2. Harvard

    Honors degrees, starting with the Class of 2005, will be awarded according to fixed percentage caps. This measure is designed to help maintain the meaning of each honors category (cum laude in field, magna cum laude in field, summa cum laude in field, and cum laude based on overall grade point average). Percentage caps will also protect the distribution of honors degrees from any trends toward grade deflation or inflation arising from any changes in the distribution of grades awarded.

    Summa cum laude degrees have been capped at 5 percent of the graduating class since 1997. Under the new policy, summa and magna cum laude degrees “in field” will together comprise up to 20 percent of the graduating class. Summa, magna, and cum laude degrees in field will together comprise up to 50 percent of the graduating class. Honors in field are awarded on the basis of an honors recommendation in a student’s field or concentration, as well as on overall grade average. The separate cum laude degree awarded on the basis of overall grade-point average alone will be awarded to those students who have not pursued departmental honors, but whose overall GPA falls above the magna level. It is expected that no more than 3 percent of the class will meet these particular qualifications, and a limit of 10 percent of the class will be imposed on this category of honors. The effect of these changes will be to raise significantly the minimum grade-point average required for the cum laude, cum laude in field, and magna cum laude degrees.

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