Update: Happy April Fools’ Day!
While lots of people are focused on the change of mascots at Wesleyan—we’ve been the Cardinals for more than 100 years and we are shifting to the squirrel—I want to talk about something serious.
The average grade at Wesleyan, like many other colleges and universities in our peer group, has crept up over the years. We are at an A- now, and like many of the Ivies and NESCAC schools we give more “As” than any other grade.
This ends today.
I have met with faculty leadership and we have made a decision. Effective immediately, we are implementing the reverse curve. We must find a way to keep students engaged and stimulated. From now on, all grades will be reduced by a full letter. If your work traditionally would have received an A+ from your professor, it will now be a B+; a B+ will become a C+, and so on. This reverse curve can be avoided by taking everything Pass/Fail.
I know this will be unpopular, but in the long run it will be better for all of us, and especially for pragmatic liberal education in America. Getting high grades is a form of privilege, and we should no longer participate in this charade of normative, hierarchical thinking. I know the Wesleyan family, a caring and forward-thinking community that prides itself on fairness, will eventually thank me.
We will EXPAND RECOGNITION of Wesleyan as a National Leader in the struggle against grade inflation.
We are investigating whether, and to what extent, we can make this retroactive. We have hired a great group of lawyers from the Federal Liaison in the Undertaking of National Knowledge — a new initiative from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos — to help us in this regard. Starting today, we turn the tide back against the privilege of high grades.