ERIC Number: ED189129
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Mar
Grade Inflation in Higher Education-1979. Is It Over?
Juola, Arvo E.
A third survey of grade trends was made in summer, 1979 to verify whether the slight drop in college grade-point averages (GPAs) detected in 1975 represented a break in the 15-year trend toward higher grades. Responses were received from 180 colleges from a systematic sample of 361 colleges which offer graduate degrees (a 50% return). The results confirmed the slight drop of .02 of a GPA point detected earlier from 1974-1975. This was followed by additional slight decrease in GPA from 1975 to 1976, 1976 to 1977, and essentially no change from 1977 to the fall term of 1978-79. The data certainly suggests a cessation of the 15-year trend toward higher grades but not a regression back toward earlier levels. The total drop in GPA from 1974 to 1978 was but .042 GPA points with no decrease in the last year. This drop is minute in relationship to the .432 GPA point rise from 1960 to 1974. The data also indicate that GPA changes for graduate students resemble those of undergraduates. Over 70% of the respondents reported taking specific action to curb grade inflation, such as: informed dialogue, formal deliberation, research, or dissemination of grading reports; few have changed their grading systems. Although the era of student activism and dramatic social change has passed, new forces such as consumerism, enrollment decline, and instructional innovation, will exert some pressure for higher grades. (Author/CP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Learning and Evaluation Service.
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