Academic Analysis: Class of 2011 Smartest? Or Just Older?

Grade distribution shows that the most common rounded GPA for students is a 5.0, with 37% of responses for Winter 2011 GPA. The curve drops more steeply above 5.0 than below. Twenty-one percent of students receive 5.5 and 5% receive 6.0 averages, compared to 24% who receive 4.5 and 9% who receive 4.0 averages.

Observation of the gender and class distribution of GPAs provides some interesting results. Members of the Class of 2011 responded to have more 6.0 or 5.5 averages than members of other classes, nearly an equal number of 5.0 averages to the Class of 2012 and fewer of lower grades than other classes by a significant margin. Eighteen seniors reported to receive 6.0 averages this past winter, compared to the 10 uppers, the second highest. Fifty-three seniors received 5.5 averages compared to about 30 members of each other grade.

The results of GPA by grade could indicate either that the Class of 2011 gets unusually high grades or that students receive better grades over time at Andover. For a more accurate interpretation of the results, one has to account for the large size of the senior class and the percentage of responses. Twenty-nine percent of survey responses came from seniors, compared with 28% from uppers, 25% from lowers and 19% from juniors.

More female students responded scoring honors grades than male students. To factor in that 53% of survey results came from female students and 47% came from male students, one can multiply the response numbers by 0.53/0.47. This flips the results for the GPA 4.5 to show more male students receiving that average than females students.

Most students respond that there are grading disparities between departments and teachers of the same subject at Andover. Of those who replied “yes” to this, most students reported that the disparities between departments are fair but the disparities between teachers are unfair.

With 46% of responses, the English department ranked the most difficult department in terms of grading, with other humanities second and third highest. Twenty-one percent of students deemed History the hardest, followed by 14% selecting Religion and Philosophy. Writing based courses seem to be perceived as the most difficult in terms of grading.

Students responded to whether they believe attending Andover affects their chances of attending a “top college,” however they defined the term, with fairly close results. Forty-five percent said they believe it increased while 40% said it decreased their chances. Fifteen percent reported it did not change their chances.