There are a few questions it would be useful to hear from readers on:
One chair of a philosophy department writes in an email, “I look at grades every semester (one of the joys of being chair) and our dept’s are lower than any others, mainly b/c fewer A+’s and as many B’s as A’s. Other depts are inflating like crazy!”
- At your university or college, are philosophy department grades lower than most other departments? (—especially, but not exclusively, other departments in the humanities?)
- If the answer to (1) is Yes, what do you think explains this?
- What do you think are the effects of the perception (and perhaps reality) that grades in philosophy courses are comparatively lower? (The chair who wrote in said, on this point, “I worry it hurts us getting majors, perhaps esp with the honors students.”)
- What, if anything, ought to be done in light of the perceived or actual lower grades in philosophy courses?
Informal conversations with students and professors suggest that it is harder to get a higher grade in philosophy courses than in courses offered by many other departments.