ERIC Number: ED184482
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Grade Inflation: Magnitude, Causes, and Consequences.
Garten, Edward D.; Olday, David B.
The extent of grade inflation at the college level, possible causes of the phenomenon, and its potential consequences for colleges and universities and the individual student are discussed. Grade inflation since 1965 has been attributed to the following possible causes: grade point averages (GPA) have increased because of real changes in high school and college student achievement; there have been demographic and institutional policy changes that could have affected GPA's independent of changes in grading standards; prior to 1965 university and college faculties were largely unresponsive with respect to their grading practices to the increasing competency of the student body; and significant social, political, and institutional changes have occurred in the United States during the period of grade inflation. A study conducted by Birnbaum (1977) to test the first two general explanations of grade inflation is described. It is suggested that the most plausible explanation is the one which posits that significant societal and institutional change has resulted in an erosion of traditional grading standards. It is suggested that grade inflation may have resulted from leniency in grading during the Vietnam war period, when college students in good academic standing were able to obtain draft deferments. Additionally, the Civil Rights Movement and the influx of academically unprepared minority students into colleges that lacked resources for remedial programs may have been a contributing cause of grade inflation. (SW)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A