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ERIC Number: EJ763249
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
The Gentleman's "A": New Evidence on the Effects of Grade Inflation
Lucas, Maurice E.; Figlio, David N.
Education Next, v4 n2 p60-66 Spr 2004
With reports that some of the nation's finest universities have been handing out A's like lollipops at Halloween, the lowering of standards in higher education has become a hot topic. But grading standards in primary and secondary education have received remarkably less attention. There are two major questions related to grading standards. First, to what degree do the grades distributed by schools and teachers correspond to their student's performance on state and national exams? Second, and more important, how does "tough" or "easy" grading affect student's learning? This article presents a study that examines the grading standards of individual "teachers" and how those standards affect student's performance on independent exams. For this study, the authors analyzed confidential data provided by the school board of Alachua County, Florida, which includes the city of Gainesville. The data consist of observations on almost every 3rd, 4th, and 5th grader in the school system between the 1995-96 and 1998-99 school years, allowing them to follow two cohorts with three years of data each. Thus they can see how individual students perform on nationally normed exams as they move from "tough" to "easy" grading teachers and vice versa. The results suggest that elementary-school students learn more with "tough" teachers, with the effects varying depending on students' initial performance levels and on the overall performance level of their classroom. (Contains 3 figures.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3; Grade 4; Grade 5
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test; Iowa Tests of Basic Skills