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Princeton Faculty Committee Recommends Removing A-Grade ‘Quotas’

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Aug. 7 (Bloomberg) -- A decade-old grading policy at Princeton University that has caused anxiety among students may soon be gone.

A faculty committee is recommending the school remove targets for the number of A grades awarded, which had been “often misinterpreted as quotas.” The system would be replaced with grading standards developed by each department, the Ivy League school in Princeton, New Jersey, said today in a statement.

The nine-member committee, appointed by President Christopher Eisgruber, reviewed a policy that began in 2004 to address concerns about grade inflation. The policy added “a large element of stress to students’ lives, making them feel as though they are competing for a limited resource of A grades.”

The committee also recommended that the university’s policies on student assessment should move away from grades and focus on “quality of feedback,” according to the statement.

“People fixate on numbers, and the very existence of a numerical guideline such as 35 percent serves as a lightning rod, giving (perhaps wrongly) the impression of inflexibility,” the committee said in the report.

The recommendations may be brought to the full faculty for action as early as October if they’re approved by a second committee.

Alumni of Princeton include First Lady Michelle Obama and Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Samuel Alito.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janet Lorin in New York at jlorin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lisa Wolfson at lwolfson@bloomberg.net Chris Staiti

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