Search the Grade Distribution Database

December 30, 2010

Use this search tool to view the grade distribution for specific courses at Virginia Commonwealth University. You’re searching a database of 21,931 undergraduate courses taught between Fall 2006 and Spring 2010. You can see the course number and title; the instructor’s name; a breakdown of the grades that the instructor gave in the class; and the average GPA for those grades. (To conduct a search, you can use just one field or all five fields — depending on how specific you want to be. You can type only part of the instructor’s name, such as the last name, in the “Instructor” field.) We’ve enabled users to download the results for further analysis.

Search the grade distribution database for specific courses


With the search tool below, you can see the summary grade distribution data for individual instructors. You’re searching a database of more than 3,000 VCU faculty members who awarded at least 30 grades in undergraduate courses between Fall 2006 and Spring 2010. You can see the instructor’s name and department; the number of courses the instructor taught; the number of grades the instructor awarded; how many of those grades were A’s; how many of those grades were D’s and F’s; and the average GPA for all grades awarded by the instructor. (To conduct a search, you can use just one field or both fields — depending on how specific you want to be. You can type only part of the instructor’s name, such as the last name, in the “Instructor” field.) We’ve enabled users to download the results for further analysis.

Search the grade distribution database for summary data for specific instructors


Some caveats about the data: To protect students’ privacy, VCU redacted (deleted) data for some courses with small enrollments. The instructor’s name field was blank on 467 undergraduate courses. If a course was team-taught, only one instructor was listed. Also, to get accurate summary data, we “cleaned up” the spellings of instructors’ names. We ignored middle initials and variant spellings: For example, if VCU’s data showed a “MORRIS, ROBERT” and “MORRIS, ROB” in a particular academic department, we assumed that this was the same instructor.


We’d like to thank Caspio Inc. for helping us put this data on the Web. The company makes it easy for newspapers and other organizations to create online database applications. (The Richmond Times-Dispatch, for example, uses Caspio to give the public access to databases such as public employees’ salaries.) Caspio has given the VCU School of Mass Communications a complimentary academic account. That gift will help students get experience with the database application tools used in today’s newsrooms. It also will help us open newsworthy databases to the VCU community and the general public.

Main story: Grades Vary Widely; 37% Are A’s

Mark Newton, one of the reporters on this project, has created a series of charts to help visualize the grade distribution patterns. Here is one such chart: