The Atlantic Asks if College Has Become ‘Too Easy’

a college class

As college GPA’s have risen, the total amount of study hours has declined. This trend begs the question; is college getting easier?

This is the question posed by a recent column by Joe Pinsker in the Atlantic. Pinsker compiles various studies that support this trend. College GPAs have increased but there is no observable difference in the amount or method of preparation and study by students. Is college getting easier or is some other factor contributing to this trend?

Some believe that the standard for receiving a college degree has changed. Jeff Denning, an economist at Brigham Young University, supports this perspective. According to Denning, college has simply gotten easier.

If grades are improving but there’s no reason to think that students have become better students, an interesting possibility is raised: The unassuming, academic way Denning puts it in a recent paper (co-authored with his BYU colleague Eric Eide and Merrill Warnick, an incoming Stanford doctoral student) is that “standards for degree receipt” may have changed. A less measured way of saying what that implies: College may have gotten easier.

Others believe that colleges are including to inflate student’s grades in order to maintain a high graduation rate. Christina Ciocca Eller, a sociologist at Harvard who studies American colleges and universities, argues that public universities face pressure from the state to achieve certain graduation rates. If they fail to meet such numbers, they risk losing funding.

Whatever is responsible for the increase, it seems to serve the needs of colleges and universities, especially public ones. Lately, Ciocca Eller said, schools are being held more accountable for their graduation rates, with some states tying educational funding to certain statistical benchmarks. “Potentially, there’s pressure on faculty to help students, especially underprepared students, to move them through the curriculum in order to keep churning up the graduation rate,” she said.

Regardless of the difficulty of their courses, American students are bound to receive a biased worldview from their professors. A study from 2016 revealed that only nine percent of professors at leading American colleges and universities are registered as Republicans.

Stay tuned to Breitbart News for more updates on this trend.


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