NY Times list shows RC as tough place to get an A

by rcnewsblog on May 4, 2010

Post image for NY Times list shows RC as tough place to get an A

Just a month ago, Roanoke College was featured in GradeInflation.com’s “Sweet Sixteen of Tough Graders.” Now the New York Times has included the College in a statistical analysis of grade trends among a cross-section of 35 colleges and universities around the country.

In “A as the New B,” Roanoke College ranks the toughest of the group, with 29% of our students earning As, just a 2% increase over the past decade.

By comparison, 41% of Princeton students earn As, although the school also made GradeInflation.com’s Sweet Sixteen list for its efforts to reduce grade inflation. A full two-thirds of students at Brown University earn As, while Reed College in Oregon was second behind Roanoke, with 33% of students earning As. Other schools featured in the NY Times list include Elon University (45%), Hope College (57%) and UNC-Chapel Hill (45%).

Who says that liberal arts schools are the place to get an easy A?  At Roanoke College, the faculty expects students to work hard and earn their grades. At the same time, faculty members are accessible to students and help them succeed at Roanoke and afterwards. Roanoke alumni know the value of a Roanoke degree.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tom Turner ' 83 May 5, 2010 at 8:22 am

I could have told you that! It was that way in the early 1980’s when I went here. Great story.


2 Greg Record May 5, 2010 at 10:30 am

Just because a smaller percentage of our student body receives “A’s”, does not mean that Roanoke College grades harder than other schools. It simply means that a smaller amount of students at Roanoke College receive the high marks that other schools do. The statistic more likely suggests that we have an underachieving student body.

-Greg Record

3 Greg Record May 5, 2010 at 10:34 am

I guarantee that the quality of work at Princeton is much higher than Roanoke, and therefore much more deserving of an “A”.

4 John Newton May 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Now I know why I made so few A’s. Makes sense! I defintely know that is why Veasy made no A’s.

5 Eric Janson '75 May 17, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I must take issue with the comments posted by Greg Record. The A’s received by students at Princeton and Roanoke have more to do with how the professors at each school view their mission. It has little to do with the quality of the students’ work or whether they are underachievers.

What is does point out, however, is that rank in class is really the more relevant and meaningful statistic.

6 Jay - KA 93 May 17, 2010 at 4:11 pm

As a 93 grad, an A was extremely difficult to earn. My degree has served me well and the life lessons learned at RC were just as valuable.

7 Carolyn Kelly May 18, 2010 at 6:30 am

I just hope that the faculty realize that by not giving A’s they are limiting the ability of their students to get into good graduate schools.

8 Alissa May 18, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I was actually thinking the same thing as Greg as I read through the acticle…interesting statistics, though.

9 Brandon May 19, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I think this is an outstanding achievement for Roanoke. The faculty here actually expect you to go above and beyond to achieve an “A” and it actually means something to receive that grade. As for Greg Record, I don’t know if you just couldn’t manage an “A” or if you spearheaded the so called “underachieving student body”, but your comment lacks any substance to your claims and sounds more like a way for you to take a shot at the college. The Computer Science department is a spotless example of the standard that Roanoke sets, as completing the assignment to every extent of the rubric will only earn a “B”. In order to obtain the “A” you are expected to add a substantial extra element to the assignment. Please take your bitter and useless attempts at slandering the college elsewhere.

10 James Guthrie May 22, 2010 at 9:10 pm

As a graduate of graduate programs at both Cornell University and VCU I can tell you getting an A at RC was far more difficult than earning an A at either of those two “big” schools. As a former TA at Cornell, I was often chided by my professors for grading too tough, but in my mind I as only applying the standards I learned at RC. Mr. Record, I guarantee you that the quality of A work at RC is more often than not higher than that of A work at many schools of greater renown. As for Ms. Kelly’s comments, it is that kind of thinking that has led to grade inflation. As a former teacher I can’t count the number of time I told both students and parents that grades are earned and not given. And BTW, I got into an Ivy League grad school with a 3.6 from RC (and that was 10 years ago). Hard work and honest effort breeds success.

11 David Colwell '10 June 6, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Could not agree more!

12 Todd '2010 April 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm

This article has helped me in many ways when I was first applying for a job. It allowed me to “even the playing field” with Ivy Leaguers or students of schools deemed “more prestigious.” I am very grateful for my Roanoke education and being pushed to my fullest potential by an outstanding group of professionals. When I earned an A, I knew I had outworked nearly everyone in the class. Heck, even getting a B+ or B was quite the compliment on a student’s work as a B+, in particular, was almost as difficult to get an A. I am truly glad I was pushed so extensively, earned each grade I received, and was so thoroughly pushed by my professors into the business professional I am today! Thanks again to Roanoke College and all the outstanding business/humanities professors I was privileged enough to have had (special thank you shout-outs to business professors: Dr. Lynch, Dr. McCart, Dr. K. Baker, and Dr. Nazemi, and to English professor Dr. Heller)! The quality of education would not be the same without each of you!

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