Students who take Government 1061, "Modern Political Thought," this semester, won't get just one grade from Kenan Professor of Government Harvey C. Mansfield Jr. '53, they will get two.
In lecture Thursday morning, Mansfield announced he will distribute two sets of grades to his students: an initial grade he thinks they deserve, and then a second grade--the one that will go on their transcript--which will be "based on Harvard's system of inflated grades."
Mansfield is one of Harvard's most ardent opponents of grade inflation. He has voiced concern about grade elevation at Faculty meetings and even with University President Neil L. Rudenstine.
"[But] the administration has done nothing about this glaring flaw in education," Mansfield said in an interview Friday.
Mansfield said that when he compares the grades he assigns in his courses with grades students receive in other classes, his marks are usually a half-letter lower.
Mansfield's reputation as a tough grader has earned him the nickname "C-Minus Mansfield." And he said this semester's grading experiment will let him evaluate students rigorously and accurately, but not unfairly lower students' grade point averages.
"I don't want to continue punishing students for a situation that is not their fault," he said. "I've had to adjust my grades upward over the years, and the strain on my conscience has become too great."
Mansfield has asked the registrar
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