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ERIC Number: EJ940046
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 21
ISSN: ISSN-1359-6748
Grading Standards and Course Challenge: An Analytical-Empirical Approach
Ridley, Dennis R.; Quanty, Michael B.; Sciabica, Mark
Research in Post-Compulsory Education, v8 n3 p345-366 2003
This article analyses current concerns over grading standards and academic inflation. Attempting to clarify a complex phenomenon, the researchers took advantage of a rare opportunity afforded by one university's policy reducing the number of high grades awarded by its Education department. The issue providing the focus of study was whether intellectual challenge and course difficulty are frequently associated with the strictness of grading standards. It was predicted that mean grades would fall, while the level of intellectual challenge associated with courses would rise. Grade distribution data and student survey evaluations of instruction related to course difficulty and course challenge provided the essential data. The data from courses offered inside and outside the department, and before and after the policy change were analysed. As predicted, mean grades fell significantly, while ratings of course challenge and difficulty rose significantly, relative to other courses. Nonetheless, the weight of evidence suggested that administrative imposition of grading standards had unintended effects arising from unresolved conflict involving incompatible professional orientations regarding the proper use of grades in a university. Persisting issues regarding the institution of grading standards are discussed. (Contains 2 tables and 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A