From the Washington Post:

College students study a lot less now than in the 1960s, yet they get better grades.

For students, these trends must seem like marvelous developments. But they raise questions about both declining rigor and potential grade inflation in higher education.

In a forthcoming study in the journal Economic Inquiry, economist Philip Babcock finds the trends linked. As Babcock related in an e-mail, when the instructor “chooses to grade more strictly, students put in a lot more effort.” And when the professor gives easy A’s, students expend less effort.

Williams should copy the Princeton plan for dealing with grade inflation. What worked there will work here.

In the meantime, looking at the links between grades and student effort at Williams would make for a great senior thesis.

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