The evidence for this is not merely anecdotal. Early on, it was sometimes referred to as “scientific grading.”  Until the Vietnam War, C was the most common grade on college campuses. That “future” began ten years later. At Duke, a high inflator, the average graduate’s GPA has migrated from a C+/B- to an A-. There are other private schools that have restricted high grades. Just for another view: I did additional research and ended with the conclusion they have a bit of inflation everywhere except for Marshall (business school) where there's a bit of deflation. They used to be accepted with a shrug. I don’t know, but because this is a web post, I feel comfortable to speculate. Then grades rose dramatically. As noted above, grades have reached a plateau at a small, but significant number of schools (about 15 percent of the schools in our database). Some have made statements that grade inflation in the consumer era has been driven by the rise of adjunct faculty. As a result, it is unlikely that affirmative action has had a significant influence. We discuss this issue at length in our 2010 and 2012 research papers. Many professors, certainly not all or even a majority, became convinced that grades were not a useful tool for motivation, were not a valid means of evaluation and created a harmful authoritarian environment for learning. In this culture, professors are not only compelled to grade easier, but also to water down course content. Grade Inflation/Deflation Question Hi, I was recently admitted to Dornslife for IR with an emphasis on Global Business for the Class of 2023. In 2001, Dean Susan Pedersen wrote to the Harvard faculty: "We rely on grades not only to distinguish among our students but also to motivate them and the Educational Policy Committee worries that by narrowing the grade differential between superior and routine work, grade inflation works against the pedagogical mission of the Faculty....While accepting the fact that the quality our students has improved over time, pressure to conform to the grading practices of one's peers, fears of being singled out or rendered unpopular as a 'tough grader,' and pressures from students were all regarded as contributory factors....". . An anti-inflation policy was implemented in the 2005 academic year. There are no schools in our dataset that have been untouched by rising grades over the last 50 years. Administrators and college leaders agree with these demands because the customer is always right. McSpirit and Jones in a 1999 study of grades at a public open-admissions university, found a coefficient of 0.14 for the relationship between a 100-point increase in SAT and GPA. At Texas State, a historically low inflator, the average graduate’s GPA has migrated from a C+ to a B. July 7, 2016 update: Added some Canadian schools and updated data for three four-year American schools. Bowen and Bok, in a 1998 analysis of five highly selective schools, found that SAT scores explained only 20% of the variance in class ranking. Vietnam era grade inflation produced the same rise in average GPA, 0.4 points. The gray dots represent GPA differences between major disciplines at individual schools. If you see any errors, please report them. Yet grades continue to rise.There is little doubt that the resurgence of grade inflation in the 1980s principally was caused by the emergence of a consumer-based culture in higher education. Grade inflation was seen as less of a problem in math and science. Original article that started it all (published in the Washington Post), here. In a paper on grade inflation, Rojstaczer argued that affluent students who tend to go to these schools in much higher numbers are receiving an unfair advantage by getting easier A’s. Once students have been admitted, we have said to them, “You have what it takes to succeed.” Then it’s our job to help them succeed.”. Grade inflation is one of several gimmicks graduate schools are using to boost their new, fledgling alumni, including paying companies to take them on for trial periods or holding recruiting seminars earlier in the year. USC’s law school changed its curve last year to be more lenient, as did many West Coast schools, including our crosstown rival. Grade inflation occurs when institutions award students with higher grades than they might deserve, increasing the overall average grade received. Additional suggestions are always welcome.


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