UW-Madison has been moving toward egalitarian grading since 2008 when the university began reporting to departments and instructors the rates of D, F, and drop grades by gender, first-generation college status, and targeted minority status.

That sent a message to the faculty that they’d better pay close attention to low grades for students in certain groups.

The 2009 UW System’s “Inclusive Excellence Framework” insisted upon “proportional participation of historically underrepresented racial-ethnic groups at all levels of an institution . . . and in the distribution of grades.”

This is from W. Lee Hansen, “Wisconsin won’t admit it, but its new egalitarian policy leads to grading quotas,” December 17, 2014.

This is not a criticism by just anyone. W. Lee Hansen is one of the most accomplished economists who has taught at the the University of Wisconsin in the last half century. One of his critics on the site that published his article casually referred to him as a “conservative.” I’m guessing that Professor Hansen got a good laugh out of that one.

Although I have never met Professor Hansen, I have a soft spot in my heart for him. He, along with University of Wisconsin co-author Burton A. Weisbrod, wrote one of the early papers laying out the economic inefficiency of the military draft. It is Hansen and Weisbrod, “Economics of the Military Draft,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, August 1967, Volume 81, Number 3, pp. 395-421. In it the authors also estimated the implicit income tax rate that draftees were “paying” by being forced to work for artificially low wages. They found that the average tax rate (not the marginal) was on the order of 40 to 50 percent.