Sociologist Lauren Rivera of Northwestern spent two years researching the way elite financial and law firms really select their new hires. The original paper is behind a sciencedirect paywall, but Bryan Caplan has a nice write-up about the results. You're much better off with a degree from a tippy-top school than just any Ivy -- but they don't actually care about what you learned there. Your grades don't matter that much as long as they're not bad. Climbing a famous mountain or making a varsity team, especially if you're nationally competitive, would be wise. And oh yeah -- they do care what you got on your SATs. More reax from the Chronicle of Higher Ed and physicist Steve Hsu.
Improve your grades, win big money. Ultrinsic allows students in 36 colleges and universities in the US to place bets on their grades, and sends them cash for doing well. Will it motivate students to do better, or just encourage more grade-grubbing? Is it legal?
"It would take a lot to get me back to a conventional form of grading ever again." Cathy Davidson, an English professor at Duke, teaches a seminar in which final grades are determined by fellow students. She writes about the experience in Inside Higher Ed. (Thoughts by Duke faculty about the philosophy of grading previously on MetaFilter.)
"I hate grades.... [But] I am obliged to follow the rules set forth by my employer and the larger education industry in general. Consequently, I assign grades."
Fired for grading honestly? Historically black Benedict College's president recently fired two professors for "insubordination" after they refused to comply with the school's SEE ("Success Equals Effort") policy. One of the fired faculty members claims his academic freedom had been violated. (Gratuitious opinion: I think what's getting violated here is the idea that you're supposed to do college-level work in college....)