Dean Ford said Wednesday that department chairmen are free to set up any grading system they choose in courses under their direction. "The University doesn't have any policy at all" on the percentage of honor grades that can be awarded in a course, he explained.
"The head of a department could set up a rigid quota system and I suppose the University would have no objection," Ford said, "though he [the department chairman] might get complaints from some of the section men or from his colleagues."
Thomas A. Timberg '64, chairman of the HCUA committee on exam grading, claimed last week that Gov 1 uses "an unfair and inequitable" quota system that limits the number of honor grades to be awarded in each section.
The heads of three other large, lower-level courses--Soc Sci 1, Ec 1, and English 10--confirmed that it was a general practice to inform section men what the range of grades had been in the past. The individual instructors, however, have bad considerable leeway in the number of honor grades which could be awarded.
Ford said he did not know which courses have quota systems and which do not, and that the recent publicity about the grading curve in Gov 1 was the first he had heard about the quota system.
John R. Rodman, instructor in Government, explained Monday that Gov 1 section men are expected to give between 35 and 50 per cent honor grades, and between 5 and 10 per cent A's, but said that they can give more or less honor grades if the review committee approves. One section man last year was permitted to give 65 per cent honor grades, he noted.