Tutorial Grades Decline; Mansfield Still Unsatisfied
Despite his efforts to combat "grade inflation" in the Government Department, grades last year declined less than anticipated, Harvey C. Mansfield '53, chairman of the Government Department, said yesterday.
Mansfield said that he was especially disturbed by statistics for Government 98, the junior tutorial, which show that the number of A's given in the course last year only declined 5 per cent from the previous year. Ninety-five per cent of those taking the course received honors grades.
Mansfield, who called last year for a "general deflation" in grades and for a return to the tougher grading standards of the late 1960's, said that he has been "exhorting members of the department who haven't noticed the upward creep in grades to pay attention to what they've been doing."
"Students are working harder than they were in the 'revolutionary period' but grades don't go for effort alone as far as I'm concerned--they go for both effort and excellence," he said.
Mansfield stressed that his main motivation is "to even out grades within the department "because grading policy differs significantly from course to course."
Christopher Leman '73, a teaching fellow in the Government department, said that students in his tutorials during the past three years have been "working harder than ever, although that does not necessarily justify the trend towards higher grades."
John McAdams, another teaching fellow, said that he has graded students "by the standards which seemed to prevail in the department" but that he is "quite amenable to Mansfield's efforts to toughen up."
"When you make grades meaningless you don't eliminate inequalities, you just perpetuate them on a different basis," McAdams added.