Republican Professors are Tougher Graders


An article on Inside Higher Ed relates a study that shows Republican professors (both of them) grade in a less egalitarian manner than Democratic professors. Republican professors awarded a wider range of marks, giving more high grades and more low grades. Democratic professors tended to give fewer “extreme” grades.

It would make sense that Republicans would be more merit based in their grading, something that keeps with their philosophy (greater tolerance for difference in outcomes). The study points out that Black students tend to fare worse under Republican than Democratic grading, but also states that they tend to receive lower scores under both regimes. I presume they are leaving the charge of racism to others.

This probably should not be a shock, but interesting in its own way. I guess you should hope you have a Republican (assuming you can find one) for subjects you are good in, and a Democrat for those you are not good in.

I am just surprised they could find enough Republican professors from which to draw any data.


From the linked article:

On grade distribution, Republicans were more likely to give very high and very low grades. Among grades given by Republicans, 6.2 percent were C- or lower, compared to only 4.0 percent of the Democratic grades. But Republicans were also more likely to give out A+ grades (8 percent of their grades, compared to only 3.5 percent from Democrats).

With regard to race of students, the study found that black students received lower grades, on average, than did white students whether classes were taught by Democrats or Republicans. In courses with Democratic professors, the gap was 0.27 on a grade point average. In Republican-led classrooms, the gap was 0.42.


3 Responses to “Republican Professors are Tougher Graders”

  1. David Foster Says:

    It is *possible* that there are more Republican professors in more rigorous fields like biochemistry, mechanical engineering, and ancient Greek, and more Dem professors in fields which are “softer” and in which it’s easier to give a good grade to anyone who shows up….I’ve seen other data somewhere showing more Republican professors in the hard sciences than in the social sciences and in the humanities. A quick reading of the summary showed no evidence that the researchers attempted to control for this possible effect.

  2. Default User Says:

    @David Foster

    The most liberal faculties are those devoted to the humanities (81 percent) and social sciences (75 percent), according to the study. But liberals outnumbered conservatives even among engineering faculty (51 percent to 19 percent) and business faculty (49 percent to 39 percent).

    The most left-leaning departments are English literature, philosophy, political science and religious studies, where at least 80 percent of the faculty say they are liberal and no more than 5 percent call themselves conservative, the study says.

  3. brightstormyday Says:

    Interesting. I think it has to do with a lot more than that. Not all science classes are merit based, and engineering classes especially are graded on a curve. Though it would vary from institution to institution, this seems to be standard among at least a few schools, from what I’ve seen.

    This is because the average engineering grade on a test is going to be something like a 40%. The professor can’t flunk everyone. Though I wouldn’t be shocked if one tried.

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