Politics & Policy

Princeton: Grades on Transcripts May Be Unfair to Kids Who Get Bad Ones

Ivy League university may stop putting grades on freshmen transcripts.

Princeton University’s administration is considering putting only pass-fail grades on all freshmen transcripts because putting the actual grades is unfair to kids who get bad ones.

Apparently, the fine Ivy League institution doesn’t want the best and brightest to have to endure feeling bad about themselves during their first year.

“Consider alternate systems for measuring academic performance in the freshman year, for example by ‘covering’ first-year grades (providing students with grades but reporting on their transcripts only whether they passed or failed the course),” recommended the school’s “undergraduate socioeconomic diversity working group,” chaired by Valerie Smith, dean of the college.

The recommendation was part of the school’s plan to create a more “inclusive” campus environment, suggested as a possible way to “reduce curricular obstacles to academic success.” It also mentioned “weighting first-year grades less heavily” as another possible way to handle these “obstacles.”

Other plan suggestions included implementing socioeconomic-diversity training for all faculty, staff, and incoming students as well as a campus-wide socioeconomic-diversity-awareness program.

In addition to the dean, the group was composed of six other administrators and five faculty members.

President Christopher L. Eisburger said that “some of the recommendations are already being implemented,” while others “require additional consideration.” It was not clear which recommendations fell under which category, and Princeton did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.

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