Postbac: Avoid schools that deflate STEM grades?

I received my first postbac grades of my journey this week. Chem I and Chem I lab. I received an A in Chem and a B in Chem lab. My lab score was a 92% but the grade was normalized down to an 85%. This got me thinking about other schools that deflate or inflate premed (STEM) grades. I believe DIY postbacs are at a disadvantage. I have a hunch that formal postbaccs are not as limited in how many A’s they grant or whether their class scores are or need to be distributed normally. Definitely something to consider when considering a postbacc path.

Can you explain what normalized or deflated grades means? I have never heard of it.

Normalization is when your grades are manipulated to fit some ideal distribution which they use to grade you. For example, if grades are curved, they use normalized grades to better fit the 3 std deviations of a normal distribution - 2.5% A, 13.5% B, 68% C, 13.5% D, 2.5% F.

Grade deflation is when grades are intentionally kept lower to reflect a more clear strata between top and middle rank students. STEM and engineering departments are known for this - though some schools, ivy league for example, regularly allow a high number of A’s w/o fear of handing out too many. The logic may be that the students have earned their way in and proven worthy. This is grade inflation.

My argument is not against how schools are grading - every school and every dept for that matter will have its own way of grading. What I’m saying is that if you are a postbac student, it would be in your best interest to find programs that do not employ these dog eat dog methods.

I believe the most likely schools to grade this way are the large state funded universities - they need to be sure a top Chem grad is actually a top Chem grad. That is a different evaluation - than assessing whether or not a student has mastered a well established body of knowledge in Chem or Physics for example.

So, if it’s to our advantage to find programs and schools that do not evaluate this way, then I believe we should talk about it.