I sometimes want to fail more people in my classes. This is not because I am evil (although some people here seem to think so), but because I want the people who graduate from our computer science program to be truly the best in the world.
When I came to Carnegie Mellon, I was surprised at the insanely high quality of our undergraduates in Computer Science. I knew the PhD program was ranked #1, but I had no idea how awesome the undergrads were. Still, I think CMU and other top universities in the US need to fail a few more students in their classes.
The philosophy in US universities seems to be mostly one of making it really hard to get into the programs, but once you're in, the chances of graduating are really high. In fact, most rankings of American universities such as the one from US News place quite a bit of weight on four- or five-year graduation rates -- the fewer students that fail, the higher the university will be ranked. I find this counter-intuitive. While I understand that prospective students want to know that if they come here they will not be flunked, I think we all need to accept that mistakes are sometimes made in the admissions process.
In some other countries, like Guatemala where I went to high school, the philosophy is exactly the opposite. Pretty much anybody can be accepted to any university. However, a large fraction of the people who enter end up failing out. The reason this appeals to me is that rather than making a decision based on a single test score (the SAT) and a couple of recommendation letters, universities get to test students for the span of several years before giving them a seal of approval.
Should I be stricter with my grades?